Construction industry training at Haldane Barracks


Alternative Venues North West offers facilities for hire on the ‘Reserve Estate’, comprising properties including the Naval Regional Headquarters, Army Reserve Centres and Cadet training facilities. The funds raised through hire charges are used to directly support the Reserve Forces and Cadet organisations in the region.

Alternative Venues has developed a number of regular clients who utilise sites on a frequent basis. One such client is the Working Well Together campaign, which has been delivering construction industry training at sites in Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

Event organisers Tracey Herrick, Steve Henry, Billy Rowan and Ian Aspinall

Event organisers Tracey Herrick, Steve Henry, Billy Rowan and Ian Aspinall

Working Well Together is a campaign with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to ensure a joined up approach in the construction industry from regulators, the police, and health and safety professionals working in the industry. Nationally there are 18 groups in the Working Well Together campaign. Each group is independent, and each group organises industry training best suited to the geographical area in which they work.

The course at Haldane Barracks, attended by 90 construction industry professionals, focussed on working at height, and the aim of the day was to familiarise and educate people in the construction industry about the associated risks.

We caught up with Billy Rowan, Vice Chairman Construction Health and Safety Initiative and one of the organisers of the event, who told us more about Working Well Together:

“Today’s training is aimed at small to medium sized businesses: supply chain partners to the larger construction organisations. Larger businesses have the resources in place to deal with the safety angle, with people like me employed as Health and Safety Officers. Smaller businesses don’t have those resources at their disposal, so that’s what we try to provide. We’re trying to help people who we’re going to be working closely with to work safely.

P1050360“We’ve held a number of events at both Haldane Barracks and Fox Barracks in Chester. The layout really works in our favour because we’ve got a large room we can use to get everyone together at the start and finish of the event, plus the annex rooms for our break-out meetings during the day. The parking area out at the front of the site really works well for us; we’ve got suitable car parking facilities for our attendees, plus the ability to bring in larger pieces of machinery and set up safely.

“At Haldane Barracks, in the past the garage across the road has provided us with great facilities for exhibitions and stands under cover from the weather. Due to current works on the garages we were unable to use them this time, but the team offered us the opportunity to have Army tents erected for our exhibitors. We’ve got a variety of businesses present: HSS, providing guidance about types of tools; providers of different types of equipment that can be used to assist people working at height including pop-ups, podiums, ladder systems etc. We’ve got some of the larger suppliers of Mobile Elevated Working Platforms (MEWPs) – all to both demonstrate the equipment they can provide, but also to demonstrate how to recover people when they have a fall from height.

“We learnt about Alternative Venues after one of my colleagues had attended an event in one of the region’s Army Reserve Centres. We got in touch with Shelley Rees and her team, and toured a variety of different sites in the North West. Our catchment area is Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the Wirral and Chester, so the locations really work for us. Another big plus for us is the catering side: what people in construction want is a bacon butty and a brew, and the teams at Haldane and Fox Barracks have been brilliant. The lads are getting well fed, and they can relate to people here – a lot of our attendees are Reservists themselves, or former service personnel, so that’s another reason why we like using Alternative Venues.P1050447

“Based on the success of this event, we’ll be running similar events early next year in Liverpool and Chester.”

To find out more about Alternatives Venues and to book an event, visit

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