VIDEO: Anglian Water announce “game changer” to provide jobs and training for Wisbech youngsters
- Credit: Archant
Chief executive Peter Simpson has pledged to put Fenland – but particularly Wisbech- at the heart of a major new training initiative by Anglian Water.
In a surprise announcement to last Friday’s Wisbech 2020 summit he revealed he would be meeting chief executives of supplier companies to pledge support for the scheme.
Anglian Water has recently negotiated 15 year contract with major firms such as Kier and Balfour Beatty and they will be among those asked to help.
Wisbech could lead the way in training and allow for locally trained engineers and qualified workers to find better jobs.
“We wanted to make a tangible difference so we looked across Anglian region to find where there were bigger issues and challenges and we felt Fenland and in particular Wisbech was the appropriate place to start,” he said.
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“We didn’t want to just descend with our ideas so we looked to find some modules that were already working elsewhere.”
He said Anglian Water would be using the “business connector model” which has been tried and tested across the UK.
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“The idea is to put a catalyst in the community to promote skills and also opportunities for enterprise.”
An Anglian Water executive found Russell Beal was already working in Wisbech on projects such as support for the Queen Mary Centre and a jobs fair and he would lead the project.
“We looked at a great range of ideas on where we might be able to help,” said Mr Simpson. “The ideas had to be sustainable. It is not about dropping in here, staying for a few months and then leaving. We wanted to do something that can be self-supporting and continue on.”
“We want to raise the profile of Wisbech.”
He wants to use the way health and safety has been promoted within the construction industry where people’s mindset has been changed to help change the mind-set of the local community.
He said: “It is kind of embryonic, a lot of work is needed with the local community, but this has never been done before. We need to try to promote why we need to do it, and we can make a difference through that.”
MR Steve Barclay said the announcement was a “welcome surprise” and one of the clearest signs yet of progress on the 2020 Vision.
“Whereas before we were reliant on the stretched resources of Cambridgeshire councils we are now going to have some big name companies with all their resources to help,” he said.
Mr Barclay said previously employers had to “bus in” skilled workers to Fenland but with this new initiative under way it would mean proper, locally based skills training.
“This is a real game changer,” said the MP. “I came away from Wisbech 2020 Vision greatly encouraged by these and other developments that are happening.”