Building Bristol Kick Off

This was a momentous week in the world of ESL! The new Building Bristol venture kicked off with an inaugural board meeting. Opened by Cabinet Member and Deputy Mayor Asher Craig, the board was attended by key stakeholders representing the world of education and skills, construction, employment and business support, economic development, planning, equalities and youth services. I’m providing strategic support and Darren Perkins, Apprenticeship Manager, has a seat on the board to ensure the On Site and wider ESL offer is represented.

So what is Building Bristol? Basically this is a scheme designed to transform the way we integrate employment and training within all major developments – both at construction and at end user phase. This work is being led by Bristol City Council ESL and the Planning Team. It takes in all major capital projects – including all phases of the Temple Quarter Development, City Leap and the new Arena.

Bristol’s planning regulations and validation rules have been updated so that from January this year, major schemes more than 1,000 square metres or with 10 or more residential dwellings will be in scope of a small levy charge and the requirement to produce a robust employment and skills plan. These plans will be key to achieving¬† inclusive employment and skills: supporting local people into jobs and training; promoting apprenticeships; encouraging experience of work and career pathways for young people.

Donna Woodland has been appointed as the Building Bristol Co-ordinator and she’s already connecting with major schemes, linking developers with a range of delivery partners, including our own ESL and other city council teams, local schools, colleges, universities and independent training providers. Donna is ensuring that developers are fulfilling their employment and skills commitments with detailed monitoring and evaluation to inform best practice.

So what will this look like in practice? Imagine a new planning application has come in to build a new hotel in Bristol. Building Bristol requirements means that the developer is required to produce an employment and training plan which spells out at construction phase how many new jobs and apprenticeships will be created, how many work experience placements and career activities and events will take place, how many training plans, training weeks and qualifications will be delivered, and how many case studies produced. Then, as we move towards the building completion, a further employment and skills plan will be required, using the same measures, but this time to fill all the jobs within the hotel.

With at least 39 new developments in the Bristol pipeline, we anticipate that Building Bristol is a game changer regarding local employment and skills. We hope this scheme gives us the right strategy, guidelines, processes and expert capacity to support local young people and adults into great careers in the city – particularly those people who often get left behind. Watch this space as we move into implementation – there should be some great case studies showing just what we can do when we pull together and make sure no one gets left behind.