Oxford North Unveils Community Employment Plan to Boost Local Construction Jobs

Oxford North Unveils Community Employment Plan to Boost Local Construction Jobs

Oxford North, the prestigious £700 million global innovation district nestled within Oxford city, has announced an ambitious Community Employment Plan aimed at providing significant opportunities for local individuals and businesses within the construction industry. With a firm commitment to maximizing the potential for the community, the plan sets a target of creating more than 50 new apprenticeship positions over the course of the next 18 months.

The initiative has already shown promising results, as the initial infrastructure construction and drainage works, undertaken by The Hill Group’s infrastructure team, have provided a platform for 251 new jobs and six apprenticeships since commencing in August 2021. Encouraged by these early accomplishments, the project now moves forward into the next phase, which includes the construction of the Red Hall, two lab buildings, a new central park, and other notable developments such as The Hill Group’s Canalside new homes and Carey’s A44 improvement works.

Crucially, the construction partners involved in the project have actively signed up for employment, skills, and training targets, encompassing crucial aspects such as local labor engagement, supply chain integration, and procurement. Additionally, they are committed to collaborating with educational institutions, supporting youth, fostering apprenticeships, and addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities.

The newly unveiled Community Employment Plan stands as an integral component of the overarching Training, Employment & Business Strategy, which has received the endorsement of the Oxford City Council and OxLEP (Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership). The strategy reflects the vision of Oxford North as a catalyst for the local economy, providing employment opportunities and nurturing the aspirations of the local population.

A range of deliverables has been established to ensure the success of this phase, including a minimum of 15% local Oxfordshire employment, the creation of 55 apprenticeships, 37 work experience opportunities, 680 hours of volunteering, and various initiatives like career events, school engagement, and site tours.

To oversee the implementation of these initiatives and guarantee their success, a social value steering group has been formed, comprising key stakeholders such as the Oxford City Council, OxLEP, the Department of Work & Pensions, prominent educational institutions like Abingdon & Witney College and Activate Learning, as well as Aspire and the Construction Industry Training Board.

Victoria Collett, the development director at Thomas White Oxford, expressed the organization’s unwavering belief in the value of apprenticeships and job creation, which not only enhance social mobility but also foster the growth of local businesses. Collett expressed pride in the initial phase of work, which has already witnessed the creation of numerous local jobs, including those of first-generation construction employees. She emphasized that as the project progresses, these opportunities will expand, encompassing not just the construction phase but also the arrival of life sciences and tech companies at Oxford North, ensuring the establishment of a resilient economy. Collett expressed gratitude to the construction partners for their dedication in maximizing opportunities and creating a positive social impact.

David Camp, the CEO of Stanhope plc, emphasized the project’s commitment to engaging the wider supply chain to generate additional opportunities for local residents. Camp highlighted the provision of apprenticeships for school leavers and graduate positions in various construction sectors, ranging from excavation and substructure works to fit-out works, landscaping, and green skills. He further highlighted the ongoing collaboration with schools, colleges, and universities to raise awareness about the exciting range of skills and careers available within the construction industry.

Tom Storey, Social Value Consultant at Storey Consulting, lauded Oxford North for its transformative approach, which opens pathways to prosperous careers, apprenticeships, and work experience. Storey emphasized the commitment to maximizing social impact at every stage of the project through careful planning, procurement, and delivery. By collaborating with colleges, the council, and local stakeholders, the project aims to ignite growth and create opportunities for all.

Spanning 64 acres of land, Oxford North represents a joint venture between commercial development partners Thomas White Oxford, Cadillac Fairview, and Stanhope, in collaboration with residential development partner The Hill Group. The district is poised to make a significant contribution of approximately £150 million per year to the local economy.

To facilitate job applications and provide a comprehensive overview of available positions, Oxford North has launched a dedicated jobs page on their website. Individuals interested in exploring the range of opportunities may visit www.oxfordnorth.com/jobs for more information.

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