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Major construction firms sign up to Heathrow apprenticeship plan

heathrow picture

Firms including Mace, Balfour Beatty and Ferrovial have signed up to a plan from Heathrow Airport’ operator to deliver 10,000 apprenticeships by 2030 as it prepares to expand.

Heathrow Airport Ltd’s newly-launched construction skills forum will bring together major construction firms, their supply chains, and the airport operator to forumlate an action plan to deliver the diverse and skilled workforce that will build the proposed new runway and other projects. 

The shared apprenticeship scheme is one of a series of commitments made by the airport in response to a report from the Heathrow Skills Taskforce, an independent committee set up to hold the airport to account on the promises it makes as part of its expansion plan. 

Heathrow will also trial a new “skills passport”, giving apprentices and employees a place to log their achievements. If the trial is successful, Heathrow will use the log to facilitate the transfer of skills and experience to the other major projects in its pipeline.

Another commitment made by Heathrow in response to the taskforce is to offer 1,200 work placement days to local T-level students in construction and digital careers from September 2020.

Heathrow Airport Ltd chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow expansion is a once in a generation opportunity to help reduce the skills deficit in the UK by providing a bespoke programme that helps people get into a career, not just a job.

“Heathrow’s new shared apprenticeship scheme and skills passport will equip our future colleagues with the skills necessary to fill the tens of thousands of jobs set to be created at Heathrow and other major projects across the UK.”

Balfour Beatty’s UK construction services business chief executive Dean Banks said: “With a number of major infrastructure projects in motion and in the pipeline, the shared apprenticeship scheme is an ideal example of how clients, contractors, supply chain and government can work together to attract the future workforce required to bridge the significant skills shortage we face.”

“The adoption of a shared apprenticeship scheme and the skills passport will be transformative for infrastructure skills development in the UK, and we look forward to working with Heathrow and its suppliers and partners to deliver these vital initiatives,” Mace’s chief operating officer for consultancy Jason Millett added.

Lord Blunkett, who chaired the Heathrow Skills Taskforce, is also to convene a new steering group this year to monitor the progress of the commitments that have been made by the airport operator.

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