People & Skills Projects - 16 July 2015

Charter aims to ensure big deals also benefit workers and smaller businesses

Companies working on major projects jointly funded by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership will in future have to sign up to a new Charter – ensuring the deal will also benefit jobs creation, training and smaller firms.

New buildings, roads, broadband network development and other essential infrastructure across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are jointly funded by millions of pounds in Government and European funding; managed by D2N2. The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community and voluntary groups, promotes economic growth and jobs creation across its area.

D2N2’s new Procurement Charter will aim to ensure money spent in its catchment benefits as many businesses and people as possible, as well as helping the companies directly involved in projects turn a profit.

Electrical Apprentice -

D2N2’s Procurement Charter will benefit jobs creation, training and smaller firms.

The Charter, chiefly aimed at the construction and related industries, ties into work already done by D2N2 through its previously announced:

  • Employability Framework – Launched at D2N2’s 2015 Annual Conference on Tuesday (July 14), to get skills and training providers, and businesses, working more closely together on helping learners gain better experience of the working world.
  • Provider Charter – Launched last April (2015), it asks businesses and training providers (including further education colleges) to sign up to collaborate on programmes which will teach those on them the knowledge needed to fill ‘skills gaps’ in local workforces.
  • Sector Development Action Plan for Construction (published October 2014) – It sets out a strategy to help the construction sector in the D2N2 area flourish; particularly looking at training needs, and opportunities for small and medium sized companies to learn about and gain work from large, valuable building contracts.
  • D2N2 Skills for Growth Strategy – Looking to improve skills and training provision in the D2N2 area, including apprenticeships, to help the Local Enterprise Partnership achieve its overarching goal of creating 55,000 new jobs in the area by 2023.

The Procurement Charter also builds on the national Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012; which encourages businesses and organisations putting out work contracts for tender to think more about using these to practically address social, economic and environmental needs.

D2N2’s primary funding for capital and infrastructure projects is its Local Growth Fund (LGF). In July 2014 D2N2 announced it had secured £174.4m from the Government’s LGF, to support projects aiding economic growth over six years. That money is due to unlock almost £380m of additional funds from local partners and business, making a total package for the area of £554.4m, up to 2021. 

Businesses, local authorities and public sector bodies involved in projects receiving LGF or other funding through D2N2 will have to sign up to the commitments of its Procurement Charter. These will include measures designed to address at least some of the following issues:

  • increasing the number of apprenticeships;
  • black and ethnic minority worker recruitment;
  • development of courses run by schools, colleges and other learning providers;
  • employability, particularly among women returning to work, young people (especially NEETS, or those Not in Education, Employment or Training) and older workers;
  • enhancing skills training within the construction and related sectors;
  • improving science, technology, engineering and maths skills;
  • rural workers having difficulty accessing employment due to travelling distance;
  • people with complex needs facing long term unemployment;
  • work experience for school age children.

David Ralph, Chief Executive for the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Significant funding comes through D2N2 for economic activity, and through our new Procurement Charter we will ensure this benefits as many businesses and communities in our area as possible.

“We are a private sector-led organisation but, as well as achieving a profit for the companies involved, the economic development we fund must also open up training opportunities for local workers, and enable small and medium-sized businesses to gain business from construction and regeneration happening on their doorstep.”

Initial work on the Procurement Charter was begun by Louise Townsend, of UK construction and infrastructure company Morgan Sindall plc, and the former Chair of D2N2’s Construction Sector Action Plan and Skills Sector advisory groups. Louise is now Sustainable Business Director at Morgan Sindall; responsible for ensuring its projects are carried out in a socially, economically and environmentally responsible manner.

Louise said: “This Charter will put money into the pockets of local small businesses and communities. SMEs are the engine room of the economy and it is entirely right that our SMEs benefit from this spending as much as possible.

“The publication of the Charter demonstrates the commitment of both the LEP and private businesses to delivering economic growth that has the greatest local impact. It is a crucial document which will give a great boost to the local economy.”

Those businesses and organisations signing up to the D2N2 Procurement Charter will share good practice. The Charter will be reviewed in 2017, to make sure that its commitments are being upheld and are having a positive impact in the D2N2 area.

For media enquiries on this news release call D2N2 Communications Officer Sean Kirby on 01159 578749 or email sean.kirby@d2n2lep.org

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