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Land Sec and McAlpine launch London jobs drive

Construction firms have teamed up with the UK’s largest commercial property developer as it launches an initiative to get thousands of unemployed people into work.

Land Securities launches its London employment strategy today, which will see construction jobs ring-fenced and training opportunities provided to young people, the unemployed and ex-offenders, at developments across its £5.27 billion London property portfolio. 

It comes after a successful pilot with Sir Robert McAlpine at 62 Buckingham Gate in Victoria.  Over a two-month period, 51 unemployed Londoners received training and now have skills to take to the job market.  Of these, 23 trainees were offered permanent jobs. 

Wates, Mace and Bouygues UK have also thrown their weight behind the strategy.

Robert Noel, managing director of Land Securities’ London Portfolio, said: “After the financial downturn, Land Securities led the sector in committing to large-scale and complex property projects.  These projects last for many years and create thousands of jobs. 

“Working with London’s politicians, whilst mobilising our suppliers and our occupiers, we will exert our influence to make as many sustainable employment, education and skills opportunities available as possible in order to enable Londoners meet their full potential.”

Sir Robert McAlpine’s operations director, Tony Aikenhead, told CN: “We have adopted this approach for quite some time, but the difference here is that when initiatives like these are supported by very large professional clients, the momentum is much greater.”

The developer will also set aside 100 job opportunities, 60 National Vocational Qualifications [NVQs], and five full time apprenticeships at the 525ft Walkie Talkie tower, at 20 Fenchurch Street.

A network of partners also includes the Greater London Authority, Job Centre Plus, The London Probation Trust and the City of London Corporation. Colleges and other education providers in the capital will be able to make referrals for potential trainees and job seekers through the scheme’s training partner, Alandale Sustainability Solutions Ltd.

The strategy is being launched as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that there are 406,000 unemployed people in the capital. The developer added that with planned developments and an ageing workforce, the construction industry will need an estimated 15,000 new recruits each year in London to meet demand until 2015.

The launch at the Guildhall in London will be attended by London’s Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes and Stuart Fraser, chairman of policy and resource at the City Corporation.

See this week’s Construction News for an exclusive interview with Land Securities and Sir Robert McAlpine.

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