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Apprenticeships, training schemes and more as Crawley contractor Kier pledges to help local residents

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Crawley Borough Council’s contractor Kier has pledged to offer a range of employment and skills opportunities to local residents.

The contractor is currently building the council’s new Town Hall and commercial offices. This project is part of an agreement the council has entered into with Westrock, who will oversee the additional development of 273 new flats, of which 109 will be affordable, a new public square, public realm improvements and new District Heat Network.

This is a significant step in the Town Hall project and the council’s Town Centre Skills Academy for construction, which supports the council’s Employment and Skills Programme.

The work will also contribute to the National Skills Academy for Construction Programme, which the council adopted in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). This provides a framework for public sector organisations with responsibility for procuring construction work to create employment and skills opportunities related initiatives for local residents.

The two-year build project, which started in December 2019, will see both Kier and its supply chain partners deliver 36 opportunities which include apprenticeships, traineeships, work placements, training schemes and careers guidance workshops to local students.

Kier has already successfully provided a number of apprenticeships in both trade roles and administration, graduate opportunities and industrial placements and will be working with the council’s employment support service, Employ Crawley, to reach local residents. Kier will continue to offer:

·        Upskilling of construction students through programmes and activities with Crawley College to make the students work ready

·        T levels for local secondary schools through construction and administration programmes

·        Mentoring, CV skills, interview skills, maths lessons, green build, coaching and guidance to Crawley students

·        Indirect apprentices through the supply chain – this could be in a range of areas throughout the construction phases with beneficiaries being local to the project

·        A wide range of industry and site-based qualifications, from working at height through to health and safety training, will be carried out on site with all personnel and supply chain.

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said:

“This is a positive move for residents, the council and Kier. While we may be facing economic difficulties, the council is committed to working with our partners to provide more job opportunities and build on the strengths and skills of our residents and empower them to pursue long and successful careers.”

Jamie Howard, Graduate Site Manager, said:

“As a graduate from Crawley, Kier has given me an amazing opportunity to work on a project so close to home, in which I can look back on for years to come with much satisfaction. Kier has really invested in my development and has exposed me to a wide range of opportunities and learning.”

Louisa Finlay, Managing Director from Kier Regional Building Southern, said:

“We are committed to leaving lasting legacies in areas in which we build and over the duration of this project, we will provide a range of job and training opportunities for the Crawley community.

“Working collaboratively with Crawley Borough Council, we will look to inspire residents to consider a career within construction, by showcasing the innovation being used within the industry, the fascinating roles available and how they can help to shape the skylines of tomorrow.”

For more information about the council’s Employment and Skills Programme, visit www.investcrawley.co.uk/employment-and-skills/employments-and-skills-programme

Business

BREAKING NEWS: Sainsbury’s to close Crawley town centre store

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It has been an historic part of the town centre for decades, but now the supermarket on Queensway is to close its doors with the potential loss of jobs.

Image: Google Street View

Sainsbury’s says it has made the difficult decision after announcing it would close up to 15 supermarkets a year ago, pre-covid.

Sources close to the Crawley supermarket say that staff began finding out the news yesterday.

The supermarket said they would work with their staff at the site to try to find alternative roles within the firm.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson speaking to Crawley News 24 said,

“We have updated colleagues on the difficult decision to close our Crawley store and we are doing everything we can to find alternative roles within Sainsbury’s for those affected.

“Customers can continue to shop with us online and at our nearby stores. For example, our West Green store is a short drive away.”

Whilst a date for the closure has not been announced, some sources say it could be as soon as January ’21.

Cllr Peter Smith Cabinet member for Planning and Economic said:

“I am sorry for the staff that will lose their jobs at this difficult time when most supermarkets are reporting improving profits.

We have had enquiries from other supermarkets looking for suitable sites who may recognise that there will shortly be an additional 2500 residential homes just a short walk away from this prestigious location. We will be doing all we can to help find a quality occupier as soon as we can.”

Crawley Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“It is tremendously saddening to read that one of the original major shops in the town centre is closing. A lot of housing provision is currently being created in the town centre area and there is an increasing, not decreasing need for food retailers in the town centre.

We haven’t even begun to knock down the administrative offices of the town hall which will be replaced by a huge apartment block, and they are still building the first apartment block on the former council car park as I type this! I genuinely hope that another food retailer grabs the huge opportunity to take on that store.”

The news comes just one after one of the most iconic town centre independent store, P&J Sweets also announced they were to close.

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