News & Insights

Meet the brothers building a new future together at the University of Huddersfield

Two Huddersfield brothers are building new careers for themselves at the development site for the University of Huddersfield’s new Oastler Building in Huddersfield town centre.

Brothers Lee and Owen Riddell, who originate from Shelley, have both landed jobs at Morgan Sindall’s site and are seizing the opportunity to create a long-term career in construction.

The 7,500 square metre, six-storey building is being developed in a prime campus location opposite the Shorehead roundabout between Queensgate and Wakefield Road in the town.

The £27.5 million building will provide a new home for the University’s Law School and the School of Music, Humanities and Media. It will also link into the University’s Student Central building which was completed in January 2014, at a cost of £22.5 million.

Lee, 26, has secured a full-time permanent position as a trainee site engineer which includes day release to Leeds College of Building where he will spend two years completing a Level 3 BTEC diploma course in Construction & the Built Environment. His training is funded by Morgan Sindall.

Lee said: “It’s such a great opportunity for me and I’m really proud to be playing my part in creating this amazing building in my home town.

“I’m learning so much here. I’m helping to ensure the site is safe and that we are delivering a high-quality building for the University.

“I started on the site first and heard that there was a need for additional staff on the brick work. I encouraged Owen to apply and he landed the job which was great.

“I’m going to get as much out of it as I can and ultimately I want to get to the stage where I’m a fully qualified engineer and can take on project management and site management myself. I could transfer these skills around the world which would be great as I’d like to work somewhere with better weather.”

Owen, 25, is currently employed by the sub-contractor delivering brickwork at the site. “Before I was here, I was self-employed working with small established builders in West Yorkshire. In order to take it to the next level, I needed to have the necessary documentation to match my experience and qualifications to work on larger sites.

“I’m working toward that now and the opportunity for me is fantastic. My aim is to get a permanent job with the brickwork contractor and set myself up for the future with the skills to provide for myself and my young family.

“Lee helped me to get a foot on the ladder, which is typical of him looking after his younger brother. I was taken on within 24 hours of applying and I’m focusing on being positive, helpful and enthusiastic with my colleagues and managers.

“It’s a great project and a great company to be involved with. I’m really looking forward to making it a reality and setting myself up for the future.”

The Oastler Building has been designed to complement existing buildings within the university including both Student Central and the adjacent Creative Arts Building. Upon completion, by the beginning of 2017, the building will provide new teaching space including large tiered lecture theatres.

The eye-catching building, which will provide a new gateway building to both the university and the town centre, was granted planning consent by Kirklees Council in April 2015.

  • For more information about this news release please contact Steve Sanders at Influential on 0151 239 5000 / 07827 892 673 or email