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Oxford North’s plan to help more local people into construction jobs


An ambitious new Community Employment Plan has been published to set out how Oxford North will maximise the opportunities created for local people and businesses during the next 18 months of construction which includes a target to create more than 50 new apprenticeships.

Initial infrastructure construction and drainage works started on-site in August 2021 and are near completion. Delivered through The Hill Group’s infrastructure team, the works have resulted in 251 new jobs and six apprenticeships.

As the project has moved into its next phase to build the Red Hall, first two lab buildings and new central park along with Hill‘s Canalside new homes and Careys‘ A44 improvement works, the construction partners have signed up to employment, skills and training targets. These cover local labour, supply chain and procurement, engaging with education, youth and apprenticeships and disadvantaged communities.

The Community Employment Plan is part of the strategic Training, Employment & Business Strategy, which was approved by Oxford City Council with OxLEP as part of the vision to ensure that Oxford North is a significant and intended stimulant for the local economy and employment market to create aspiration and opportunity for local people.

Deliverables have been agreed to reflect the nature of the next phase of works and include a minimum 15% local Oxfordshire employment, 55 apprenticeships, 37 work experience opportunities, 680 hours of volunteering, career events, school engagement and site tours.

Alex Morley, Trainee Site Manager, The Hill Group

An Oxford North social value steering group is in place that includes Oxford City Council, OxLEP, Department of Work & Pensions, Abingdon & Witney College, Activate Learning, Aspire and Construction Industry Training Board.

The Steering Group will meet quarterly and were on-site on Wednesday 7 June 2023 (see above image) to review the new Community Employment Plan and how they will support the sourcing of local candidates.

Victoria Collett, development director, Thomas White Oxford said: “We have a passionate belief in the value that apprenticeships and jobs can have in increasing social mobility and supporting businesses to grow. In the last two years, the enabling infrastructure works have been carried out, before the first new homes, labs, offices, parks and amenities start being built for Oxford’s new innovation district. We’re proud that this early phase of work saw local job creation, including some first generation employees in construction.

“As our project continues, these opportunities will increase, not only in the construction phases but also in the future through the life sciences and tech companies that locate at Oxford North, which will help ensure we have a resilient economy. We are grateful to our construction partners for the care and attention they have given to maximising opportunities and the positive social impact we can have.”

David Camp, chief executive officer, Stanhope plc added: “As Oxford North’s construction continues, part of this plan is to continue engaging with our wider supply chain to maximise opportunities for local people by providing apprenticeships for school leavers and graduate positions within the immediate phase of construction, for example, excavation and substructure works, fit out works, landscaping, green skills and much more.

“As we move into the building phase there will be further apprenticeship opportunities available. We are liaising with schools, colleges and universities to help explain the range of exciting skills and careers available in the construction industry.”

Tom Storey, social value consultant, Storey Consulting added: “Oxford North pioneers a transformative approach through forging pathways to prosperous careers, apprenticeships and work experience. They are committing to maximising social impact through planning, procuring and delivering each stage of the project. Our collaboration with colleges, the council and local stakeholders ensures a region-wide approach, catalyses growth and creates an opportunity for all.”

Oxford North is a new £700 million global innovation district being built on 64 acres of land within Oxford city’s northern boundary. The project is being delivered by joint venture commercial development partners Thomas White Oxford, the development company of St John’s College, with Cadillac Fairview and Stanhope, alongside residential development partner The Hill Group. Oxford North will contribute circa £150 million per year in GVA to the economy.

A new, dedicated Jobs page has been set-up where people can view the range of Oxford North jobs currently available.

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