Asking the CEO of a major client to sit behind a desk for an hour and do nothing but look at Twitter is not a typical Construction News request.
Even less so when that CEO happens to be in charge of the UK’s largest future regeneration project - one that will deliver 25,000 homes, 65,000 jobs and an HS2 and Crossrail-connecting transport hub that will rival King’s Cross.
At 650 hectares in size, the Old Oak Common and Park Royal scheme is serious business, and Victoria Hills, at the helm, is intent on its eventual success.
But in these early stages of the project’s progress, success is as much about communicating clearly with local residents, businesses and authorities in the areas nearby - something Ms Hills is equally serious about.
The CEO spent an hour to take part in Construction News’ Twitter Q&A session about the mammoth scheme.
Contractors’ chance to shine
Ms Hills fielded a question on what her client, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, are looking for in contractors interested in the working on the regeneration.
Her answer? Firms that are committed to working in smarter ways and which demonstrate “exemplar” sustainable credentials.
For contractors that step up to the mark, “this is an opportunity to shine on a global stage,” added the CEO.
Skills crisis = opportunity
Positively, for a scheme that will generate in the region of 65,000 jobs, the opportunity to make significant headway in closing the skills gap is not one the DevCo will be passing up.
Businesses and educational institutions can expect a call - indeed, some may have already had one.
“We’ll work with employers to map skills needs, and colleges to ensure [the] right courses are in place,” tweeted Ms Hills.
“We already have agreement from [council partnership West London Alliance] @WLA_tweets, seven boroughs, seven further education and two sixth-form colleges to address [the] skills gap.”
With a consultation period recently closed, the vision for this flagship regeneration has taken a step closer, though a further consultation to be held later this year means work on the ground isn’t expected to start for some time.
Despite that, here is a client commited to engaging early and openly, not just with the industry, but with the public, too.
With communities becoming smarter, better connected and more informed, this is perhaps an indication of how major clients can make their plans more visible - led by those at the very top.
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