How the City Deal has generated jobs
Creating jobs and providing training in order for them to be filled is the two-pronged strategy for Lancashire's largest ever growth programmes through City Deal.
The masterplan is to generate 20,000 new jobs - including 5,000 alone at the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone - and significant progress has been made since 2014, project leaders have said.
Boosts include a major logistics and training hub being established at the enterprise zone, significant expansions at Roman Way and South Rings business parks and interest growing at the city’s main retail parks.
Meanwhile, residents will have seen works starting on the Preston Market quarter and developments at the Cuerden strategic site on the outskirts of the city, all as a result of public and private sector partnership driven by City Deal.
With this month marking the three year anniversary since City Deal launched, county hall bosses have revealed 45,957 sq metres - more than 30,000 in the past year - has now been created, against a target of 35,338 by this stage in the 10-year project, creating almost 1,000 jobs.
Jim Carter, chair of City Deal and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership board member, said: “We are taking the message of ‘Invest Central Lancashire’ far and wide, encouraging business to consider our region in their expansion or relocation plans.
“Along with thousands of new homes and jobs, City Deal also aims to enhance the education provision, and create new green spaces and new health provision to cater for the growing population.”
The new jobs, of course, need people to fill them, and through City Deal the county’s workforce is being provided with better training opportunities.
Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, Director of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub said: “A skilled workforce is a crucial part of the ambitious City Deal programme to transform Central Lancashire over the next decade and the hub is working to support the growth of Lancashire’s economy by increasing skill levels of the county’s workforce in key areas including construction and engineering.”
Links with the University of Central Lancashire have seen developers Conlon take on more placements and internships with the aim of graduates being employed in construction and engineering roles. And Preston’s College, working in partnership with UCLan, has formed the Central Lancashire Construction Skills Hub (CLCSH), along with a group of six specialist construction training providers.
Paul Watson, the academic lead for construction and civil engineering at UCLan, said that the economy was experiencing a lift, creating a demand within the sector, as well as new opportunities for workers.He added: “Huge numbers of students are on part-time courses sponsored by local employers.
“We are finding that the local economy, in terms of construction, is booming and that is bringing in lots more employers and their apprentices and workers as part-time students.”