Image Source: Jorge Díaz
Rebecca Wayman

Heathrow wants your view to help its future strategy on education and careers

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, it is to be launched coinciding with the start of the TUC Annual conference, and Heathrow has called for union members to continue its close working relationship with the airport by having its say.

The 14-member strong Skills Taskforce, which includes a representative from the TUC, is looking for ways to capitalise on the once-in-a-generation careers and skills opportunities through this expansion.

Expanding Heathrow could bring the largest unionised workforce to Britain. Lord David Blunkett, chair of Heathrow Skills Taskforce, commented: “Heathrow has an important role to play in developing the talent needed for the success of future projects.

“The Taskforce have 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 geographically and in engaging SMEs.”

Earlier this year, Lord Blunkett convened senior leaders in major infrastructure projects including Tideway, HS2 and Crossrail to discuss the need for collaboration on skills and the coordination of timetables to ensure a steady jobs pipeline for generations to come.

The Taskforce will use feedback from the online forum to help identify the best teaching, employment and career progression opportunities to make the airport better for its diversity and social mobility.

To help succeed, the Taskforce will look at ways to encourage new opportunities with older workers and returners, as Lord Blunkett continued: “We want to hear from those in the community and the frontline… It is only by working together that we can fully understand the challenges and opportunities that exist to deliver a lasting economic legacy.”

The deputy general secretary of the TUC, Paul Nowak, said: “Unions are committed to working with Heathrow to put well paid, high-skill, sustainable jobs at the heart of the expansion programme.

“We want to see the benefits of expansion spread right across the country, [which] will help link up all the regions and nations of the UK to opportunities to trade [around the world].

“It will help secure jobs in the UK steel industry, and it will help to train Britain’s next generation of engineers and construction workers.”

Heathrow supports one in five local jobs, which works out at 22 per cent, making the airport one of the largest single employment sites in the country. The expansion will see a further 77,000 new jobs and create 5,000 apprenticeships by 2030.

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