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Gatwick to support local employment with 800 new construction jobs

Gatwick Airport has announced it expects to create up to 800 specialist construction jobs from the mid-2020s should the plans to bring its Northern Runway into routine use go ahead. 

These jobs are part of the overall benefit of 18,400 additional local jobs that could be generated by 2038. Further training, education and procurement opportunities for local businesses will also be supported by proposals in Gatwick’s Outline Employment, Skills and Business Strategy (OESBS).

The strategy comes as Gatwick’s Chief Technical Officer, Cedric Laurier, spoke at the South East Construction Expo 2021 yesterday, discussing Gatwick’s innovative proposal for the Northern Runway, which itself represents one of the region’s largest capital investment projects for decades.

As a result of the proposed Northern Runway development, Gatwick estimates it will create an average of 800 construction jobs during the construction stage of the project, as well as generating significant opportunities for sustainable employment, skills development and career progression.

These 800 construction jobs will include professional level management roles as well as electrical engineers, plant operators, ground workers, concrete placing specialists, steel erectors, cladding and glaziers, building management system and fitout specialists, split across the development of the Northern Runway, taxiway alterations, works within terminal buildings, car parks and highway projects.

Supporting the employment opportunities, Gatwick’s Outline Employment, Skills and Business Strategy will also ensure local people are supported through relevant education and training provision, as well as giving local businesses opportunities for inclusion in the airport’s supply chains.

Cedric Laurier, Gatwick’s Chief Technical Officer, said: “The opportunities presented for local employment, education, skill development and business through Gatwick’s Northern Runway project are incredibly exciting for the region.

“To be able to offer 800 new jobs in construction alone is great news for both the current workforce and even schoolchildren of today. But it’s not just construction that will benefit. A wide variety of skills and levels of experience will be required as the airport operation grows and these benefits flow out across the local area. We are excited to be able to work with local schools, Further and Higher education providers, industry bodies and other organisations to ensure the local population can access the education and skill development provision required to benefit from future airport jobs.”

Jeff Alexander, Executive Director, Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: “Gatwick Airport is the epicentre of our regional economy, and plays an important role in attracting and retaining businesses in the Gatwick Diamond, strengthening the diversity of our economy. Gatwick’s plans for the northern runway and its continuing commitment to invest in its infrastructure offers opportunities for employment, retaining a skilled workforce and the continued economic success of the region. We strongly commend Gatwick’s plans to support local employment alongside further training, education and procurement opportunities for local businesses.”

Part of Gatwick’s new strategy involves using its procurement process to provide as many opportunities as possible for local businesses to be included in the airport’s supply chains, as well as encouraging investment in local businesses.

Gatwick’s strategy also outlines the airport’s commitment to developing local education provision, with plans to work with local education providers, employment broker agencies and skills partnerships to provide long-term work experience programmes, an expanded apprenticeship programme, and graduate entry programmes.

Gatwick will also further develop its Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) initiatives, expanding its current offer to work with children with special educational needs and with Higher and Further Education institutions.

Alongside enhancing local procurement, employment and education opportunities, Gatwick’s strategy also outlines skill development provision. Working in partnership with industry training boards, Gatwick will develop construction training, upskilling and apprenticeship opportunities based upon the projection of labour requirements, predicted skills gaps and targets for local recruitment and progression.

It is projected that the majority of employment, education and skills initiatives will be focused around Crawley, as well as Horsham, Mid Sussex, Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead and Tandridge.

Gatwick has started a 12-week public consultation on the plans, which closes on 1 December. 

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