What will this policy do?
This policy will set out how new developments should support the skills and training needs of local residents and provide opportunities for local businesses.
Proposed policy direction
It is proposed to require appropriately scaled developments to contribute to local training, skills and employment opportunities, for example apprenticeships, to help to ensure that the local community benefits from the development.
In addition, appropriately scaled developments would be required to provide access for local businesses to supply chain opportunities in various stages of development.
If we take this approach forward, we will need to define the threshold for appropriately scaled development, which we will do at the draft plan stage.
Why is this policy needed?
The Cambridge Anti-Poverty Strategy 2020-2023 identifies that while a number of the indicators have improved since 2014, poverty remains a significant issue in Cambridge. The Strategy identifies a “hollowed out labour market” as a particular issue in the City where, due to the strength of the higher education, hi-tech and bio-tech sectors, the majority of jobs are in higher-skilled occupations. It states that this may limit the opportunities for people on low incomes to secure higher-paid occupations requiring intermediate level qualifications and skills.
South Cambridgeshire does not have the same level of inequalities as Cambridge. However, like rural areas across the country there will be pockets of deprivation that do not show up in deprivation indices because the nature of deprivation in rural areas is different to that in urban areas and because of the dispersed nature of rural deprivation.
Skills and Training in the Construction Industry 2018 prepared by BMG Research Ltd from a commission by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) (2019) reports the results of a survey of over 1,300 businesses in the UK. Nearly half of employers that had tried to recruit skilled staff had experienced difficulties in filling the positions (47%). The most frequently cited cause of hard-to-fill vacancies was that applicants lack the skills required (73%), while not enough young people being trained in the construction industry was also a significant cause (64%).
New developments can provide an opportunity to spread the benefits of development and address financial exclusion by providing opportunities to maximise skills development and employment opportunities for local people through, for example on-site apprenticeships and work experience. Given the scale of development planned in Greater Cambridge over the coming years, the policy will also help to provide a pool of skilled labour that will support development and reduce the need to bring in skills and labour.
Some examples of these types of requirements elsewhere are provided below.
In Reading, contributions during the construction phase, in the form of either the implementation of an agreed Employment and Skills Plan or a financial contribution, are required from commercial and other uses of gross internal floor area of 1000m2/ 1ha or more and for residential developments of 10 units/ 0.5ha or more. End user phase contributions are required from all commercial/ employment generating uses of gross internal floor area of 1000m2 or more.
In Eastbourne, thresholds include all developments, including change of use, that create/relate to 1,000 m2 (gross). This also includes developments of strategic importance (for example, essential infrastructure, development identified in Council plans and strategy) and all of those that create 25+ jobs. For major residential developments the threshold is 10 or more gross units.
In Lancaster all developments of 20 or more residential units and / or 1,000m2 of new commercial floorspace will be considered for their suitability to undertake an Employment and Skills Plan. However, there is flexibility in the Employment and Skills Plans Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), for example, where a development proposal that exceeds the threshold does not suit the application of Employment and Skills plans (for example the developer may already have an appropriate training scheme in place). The policy also states that the Council would not wish to seek to overburden development in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework.
The planning permission for Urban & Civic’s development at Waterbeach includes an obligation for the developers to submit a Jobs Brokerage Scheme for approval by the local authority. Initiated by Urban & Civic, the scheme includes how the developers will work with partners to provide opportunities for local employment, apprenticeships, training and development including work placements and work experience, and curriculum and careers activity with local colleges and schools.
Two of the area’s described in more detail in the accompanying topic paper, Reading and Wandsworth, also require developers to make local businesses aware of tendering opportunities particularly during the construction phases of a development. This helps to support local businesses and their employees and the developers by enabling them to develop a potentially more resilient local supply chain.
What consultation have we done on this issue?
Comments to the First Conversation included that the new Local Plan should seek to support the need of lower skilled workers in the area. There is a need to encourage more skilled and semi-skilled blue collar employment.
What alternatives did we consider?
No policy - This is not the preferred approach as it would not take the opportunities to respond to the skills issues identified in Greater Cambridge.
Supporting evidence studies and topic papers
- Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 4: Wellbeing and Social Inclusion
Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans
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