Developers and companies to draw up plans for skills

Developers setting their sights on Plymouth and companies with large Council contracts will be asked to support the next generation of construction employees through employment and skills plans.

Plymouth City Council is the first Council in the region to use both its planning and procurement system to boost the number of people entering the construction industry.

Under the proposals, companies behind the most significant developments in Plymouth, who will be asked to produce an ‘employment and skills plan’ which sets out how they would support skill development through activities such as work experience, school visits/activities, graduate employment, apprenticeships, health and safety and multi-level training.

Businesses which have won building contracts worth over £1 million from the Council will also be asked to do the same.

The scheme has been developed with the help of the Construction Industry Training Board and will be similar to a scheme adopted in Southampton where 671 long-term unemployed residents were helped into supported employment.

The scheme also helped secure and safeguard 254 apprenticeships, over 400 work experience placements, nearly 400 curriculum support events and led to around 900 workforce development qualifications. These results were achieved over 48 developments with a total build value of £684 million.

Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “We are tackling this predicted shortage head-on and are asking businesses to help us – they stand to gain from it as well as the city. We are setting up a system that will help the industry help itself.

“By being smarter with our planning and procurement systems, we can help the city’s future, create a significant skills dividend locally and help the industry to help itself.”

The CITB has drawn up a guide of the number of skills outputs that could be applied to particular types and values of construction projects. And to help the scheme get off the ground, the Council is pledging to contribute funding towards a new post of ‘construction skills facilitator’, who would be responsible for working with the developer to see their plan to fruition.

He added: “The employment and skills plan will be secured by a planning condition or through the procurement process. We’ve worked closely with construction companies to draw up something that works for them; gives them a supply of eager, well-trained staff that will enable Plymouth to carry on with its ambitions to be a ‘vibrant waterfront city where an outstanding quality of life is enjoyed by everyone.”