BAA is putting £150,000 into a local labour strategy so that young people in particular can benefit from the new terminal.
Joe Hardman's community role at T5 is less to do with mitigating the bad than augmenting the good. As economic development manager at Heathrow, he aims to maximise local, social and employment benefits from the new terminal.
BAA has developed a local labour strategy to help people in the boroughs closest to the airport to enter the construction industry and increase the supply of skilled construction personnel The company is committed to spending £150,000 each year to fund the strategy, which has focused initially on young people.
Ultimately, there is a chance to get hands-on training on the main T5 construction site itself, but BAA is also working to create entry-level facilities in the local community.
'Much of this is done through the Heathrow Employment Forum - a partnership between BAA, the construction industry and various public authorities and agencies, ' says Hardman.
'Our relationship with the Learning & Skills Council is particularly important. It has been instrumental in planning and funding a range of projects relating to T5. It has also funded a skills coordinator at BAA, Ravinder Cheema, who brokers links between employers and local training organisations.'
The forum has created training opportunities through a number of new facilities, the flagship of which is the Heathrow Construction Training Centre for modern apprentices.
The centre is run by Carillion which 'employs' the apprentices on a trainee wage for a 14-week course in either bricklaying or carpentry, followed by hands-on work on local development sites or at Heathrow.
BAA provides a rent-free building for the centre and has contributed to refurbishment costs, while the cost of training is covered by the Learning & Skills Council.
'We have been seeking to provide a network of training to feed that centre by developing facilities for 14-16 year olds, ' says Hardman.
'A problem for that age group is that health and safety restrictions prevent work experience opportunities so this network allows the younger ones to try out the industry in a safe environment.'
Around £100,000 of BAA money has gone into a skills centre at Feltham, while in Spelthorne, a mobile classroom for construction has been created which tours five local schools.
A total of £100,000 is going to ten local schools which are aiming to become specialist colleges. BAA also funded a number bursaries for local students studying construction-related degrees.
Another side of Hardman's job is to ensure the best possible links between the T5 supply chain and local industry.
Among other initiatives is the annual two-day 'Meet the Buyers' fair at Heathrow. Around 15 T5 companies attended the 2003 event and early results suggest that local firms have won £11.5M of business as a result.