Around 20 per cent of all construction staff working on Be First developments in Barking and Dagenham live in the borough according to new figures released today from Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm.

As of today (8 February), 231 workers out of 1,150 who have started work across Be First’s 11 development sites, are based locally.

Tom Mather, Construction Director at Be First, said: “We insist our contractors look to employ local people as part of our commitment to socially inclusive regeneration.

“We’re not just about bricks and mortar at Be First, we’re about hearts and minds too – which means we’re delivering great homes and job opportunities for local people.”

The jobs news comes as Be First celebrates National Apprentice Week.

Almost ten per cent of its Be First’s workforce are trainees or apprentices.

Sarah O’Connor, who is an apprentice Trainee Development Manager, was born and bred in Barking.

Sarah has worked at Be First for two years and is currently undertaking a degree apprenticeship in building surveying.

She said: “Be First has provided me the opportunity to both work and continue studying to become a Chartered Building Surveyor. Seeing pink hoarding and Be First cranes around the borough on my daily walks is really rewarding.

“Everyone should be proud of the work they are doing in a borough that so desperately needed regenerating. I look forward to becoming RICS accredited and having a further positive impact in both the company and the borough.”