The development of Hinkley Point C offers Sedgemoor a once in a generation potential to transform its employment performance. With 25,000 full time equivalent roles on offer over the lifetime of the project on main site, and a wider effect in the local economy, the project offers the potential to lever significant employment, skills and training opportunities.
With few unemployed individuals to draw in locally, much of the recruitment happening within Somerset is amongst those already in work. Early experience suggests that this is leaving gaps creating a further priority for Under Construction, to support retention and progression of workforce in well-established industries throughout the duration of the project thus creating an opening to backfill with those returning to the labour market.
Sedgemoor’s approach has been to establish its own Employment and Skills Centre within the District; a small scale, fit for purpose space within central Bridgwater that will be able to accommodate multiple functions at one time within an unbranded / uncontested facility. Those furthest from the labour market require a different offer, with the need for more one to one support, direct, non-branded activity. Those already employed and looking to upskill require an approach that does not involve the same services. Partner employment and skills organisations reiterate that mainstream service approaches are unattractive and unwelcome in many of the key groups that we now have to reach.
Action & Initiatives
Under Construction was launched in April 2017, a successful bid to the Union Learn Fund for Hinkley provided initial furnishings and equipment for activities planned such as Sector Based Work Academies, HPC Info Session, Digital Link Sessions and Recruitment Days.
Building on achievements and relationships developed by the Employment and Skills Team, outcomes have succeeded original expectations:
- 90% on the first co-hort, (long term unemployed individuals) were successfully employed at Pontins having completed a SBWA organised by Job Centre Plus, delivered by Bridgwater and Taunton College held at Under Construction. It was noted by College staff that the neutral and relaxed atmosphere at Under Construction encouraged the group to engage far more successfully than SBWA’s held within a College setting.
- Over 700 individuals have visited since April 2017
- 236 individuals have taken part in a form or learning at Under Construction.
- Over 250 Information, Advice and Guidance sessions have been delivered by the Employment and Skills Team or externally through the ESF Building Better Opportunities project.
- 28 events have been held at Under Construction; HPC Drop-in Sessions, SME Training and Recruitment Sessions for HPC Contractors namely but further events are planned such as First Aid Training, IT and Social Media Training.
With links to the HPC Job Service and Local Labour Agreements, the team have advertised 192 local opportunities.