The Heathrow Skills Taskforce has opened a six week, UK-wide online forum to gather independent views on the airport’s future education, employment and skills strategy.
Chaired by Lord David Blunkett, the forum has been launched to coincide with the start of the TUC Annual conference, encouraging union members to continue their close working relationship with the airport by having their say.
The 14-member taskforce is looking for the best ways to capitalize on the careers and skills opportunities to be created through Heathrow expansion. With as many as 100,000 of these jobs expected to be created outside of London and the south east, Heathrow wants to encourage the widest range of educational stakeholders and those with experience in building infrastructure across Britain to get involved with their views.
The Skills Forum builds on the five commitments the airport has already made to the Unions. These include; delivering expansion to create up to 180,000 new jobs spread across the country, including 10,000 apprenticeships; providing high quality careers for local people, ensuring all our direct Heathrow employees earn the London Living Wage; supporting British industry by working with trade unions, UK steel producers and SMEs across the country; meeting tough environmental and noise requirements, enforced by new independent regulators; and securing a lasting legacy for future generations, with the TUC represented on the new Heathrow Skills Taskforce.
Lord David Blunkett, chair of the Heathrow Skills Taskforce and former secretary of state for education and employment, said, “Heathrow has an important role to play in developing the talent needed now and for the success of future projects and to enable Britain to become a world leader in infrastructure developments. The Taskforce has been working closely with Heathrow and other major infrastructure project groups, to share best practice and find ways to address fluctuations in labour supply and demand – but we need to cast the net wider, both geographically and in engaging SMEs.
“We want to hear from those in the community and on the frontline who help to support our young people to transition successfully from education into sustained employment and a fulfilling career. It is only by working together that we can fully understand the challenges and opportunities that exist to deliver a lasting economic legacy for future generations.”
The taskforce will use feedback from the online forum to help identify the best teaching, employment and career progression opportunities to make the airport a role model for social mobility and diversity. To increase diversity and promote opportunity, the group will also be looking at ways of encouraging returners or those seeking new opportunities including older workers.