Heathrow launches shared Apprenticeship Scheme to create a strong skills base
Commitments welcomed by the Chair of the Heathrow Skills Taskforce Lord Blunkett, Baroness Sugg, trade union representatives and local students at launch event Heathrow has launched Britain’s first airport-owned shared Apprenticeship Scheme in construction that will help build a stronger base of UK skills and make best use of 10,000 quality apprenticeships by 2030.
Responding to recommendations made by the independent Heathrow Skills Taskforce, chaired by Lord Blunkett, Heathrow’s Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye today announced a package of commitments to ensure expansion leaves a national legacy for the airport’s local community and future infrastructure projects.
The move follows an extensive two-year review by the Taskforce who have identified and recommended the best way forward for the airport’s future talent and skills strategy, taking into account other major UK projects in the pipeline.
The introduction of a Shared Apprenticeship Scheme will allow apprentices working at Heathrow to establish a broad range of skills and experience by working with multiple companies based or operating at the airport to complete their apprenticeship. Heathrow has committed to recruiting, training and managing apprentices across a network of companies and suppliers to help people pick and secure an exciting career, not just a job.
This strategy has been recommended by the Taskforce to help Heathrow and the wider UK build a stronger home base of skills, essential to the country’s success in a post-Brexit world. Major construction companies including Mace, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall, Dyer & Butler and Ferrovial, along with their respective supply chains, are set to take part.
Going further to ensure these skills are transferrable between jobs and sectors beyond Heathrow expansion, the airport will also trial a new “Skills Passport” that allow apprentices and employees to create a log of their achievements. If successful, Heathrow will look to then work with other major infrastructure employers to ensure this log is compatible with their requirements, and to facilitate the transfer of skills and experience to the other major UK projects.
Local schools, colleges, ministers and businesses, welcomed these commitments during launch event at the Heathrow Employment and Skills Academy. Other key commitments announced include:
- A commitment to provide 10,000 quality work experience days by 2030, including for people with additional learning needs and disabilities;
- Offering 1,200 work placement days to local T-level students in construction and digital careers from September 2020.
Speaking at the Heathrow Employment & Skills Academy, Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye, said: “The UK’s ability to compete in the future will depend upon the skills people are provided with to help them learn and adapt to new ways of working and changing technologies. Heathrow Expansion is a once in a generation opportunity to help reduce the skills deficit in the UK by providing a bespoke programme that helps people get into a career, not just a job. Heathrow’s new Shared Apprenticeship Scheme and Skills Passport will equip our future colleagues with the skills necessary to fill the tens of thousands of jobs set to be created at Heathrow and other major projects across the UK.”
Lord Blunkett, Chair of the independent Heathrow Skills Taskforce, said: “Britain is staring at a new wave of infrastructure projects with major investments such as Tideway, HS2 and Hinkley Point C on the horizon; together with the enormous private investment in the expansion of Heathrow. But more must be done to ensure the skills required for these projects are accessible and transferrable.
“We are proud to see that Heathrow is taking the Taskforce’s recommendations head-on and are pulling together other major projects, commercial partners and suppliers to secure a new generation of home grown talent with world-class skills that Britain can be proud of.
“I am looking forward to convening a new steering group that will monitor and ensure Heathrow delivers for Britain.”
Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg, said: “Heathrow’s apprenticeship scheme will benefit thousands of young people, creating a legacy of long-term and high-skilled career opportunities. The airport’s ambition will bring together British based companies and major infrastructure projects to develop a pipeline of talent, which is great news for both the industry and young people.”
These major commitments are Heathrow’s initial response to the Heathrow Skills Taskforce 2018 report, which made several recommendations to the airport on how to deliver a legacy of skills and shape a stronger workforce for Britain’s future.
The news follows the rollout of Heathrow’s Living Wage roadmap in November 2018, where it became the first UK airport to become an accredited Living Wage Employer and stamp out zero-hour contracts. In spring 2019, Heathrow is due to publish its Skills Strategy to further outline how some of its ambitious employment and skills targets will be achieved with the expansion of the airport.
Lord Blunkett will this year convene a new steering group to monitor the progress of commitments made by the airport.