HS2 contractors in London have launched a brand-new initiative that aims to create job opportunities for the homeless, helping young people to develop skills in STEM, with 11,000 having support already provided to them. The initiative will allow individuals to access apprenticeships and support projects going on in their local community.
The Empowering Communities initiative is the very first programme of its kind to be led in the construction industry, sparking a sense of hope and optimism among the residents of the seven London boroughs set to benefit from it. With the addition of Network Rail to the scheme, the collaborative effort brings together industry leaders like Costain, Skanska, STRABAG, Mace Dragados, and Arup, who will all work towards the common goal of improving the lives of individuals in the local community.
One of the primary objectives of the initiative is to create job opportunities and provide training for individuals experiencing unemployment and homelessness. The project focuses on creating long-term benefits for local communities, whilst also aiming to support STEM education and apprenticeships for young people. The construction companies believe that by investing in young people, they can provide them with the tools they need to build successful careers, fuel economic growth and improve the standard of living in the communities they serve.
Partnered organisations will be working with local charities and community groups, such as Buses for Homeless, which aim to get homeless people off the street and into full-time sustainable employment and accommodation. They will also work with the Care Leavers Covenant, an organisation that focuses on supporting care leavers aged 16 to 25 living independently.
Andrew Stephenson MP, HS2 Minister, commented on the initiative; “This fantastic initiative highlights how being a good neighbour doesn’t just mean minimising the impact an infrastructure project has on local communities, it’s about maximising the benefits to the surrounding areas.
“The Empowering Communities programme will help unleash the enormous potential of communities on the HS2 route – addressing social issues such as homelessness and unemployment and creating a legacy of jobs, skills and community initiatives for the people and places along the line.”
The Empowering Communities initiative aims to work with residents to identify and support community projects and local enterprises. The initiative can ensure that it provides support where it is needed most by collaborating with the people who know the area best. The organisations involved hope to build a sustainable legacy that will continue to benefit local communities even after the HS2 project is completed through the initiative.
The seven London boroughs set to benefit from this initiative are:
Hammersmith and Fulham
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
The Empowering Communities initiative is an ambitious project that has already drawn praise from local community leaders. Network Rail's James Dean is optimistic about the project, stating that "we’re going to put significant people power behind this social legacy project". With the construction companies' expertise and experience, this collaborative effort has the potential to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals and communities in the area, creating a brighter, more prosperous future for all involved.