BBC Highlights Costain Project

13 June 2012

The BBC has featured Costain’s Harbour Way road project in Port Talbot, South Wales, as an example of industry’s community involvement.

Radio 4’s File on Four was looking at what the devolved governments of Wales and Scotland were doing to foster local employment opportunities in public sector projects. The Welsh Assembly has made a point of taking into account indirect benefits such as new jobs for local unemployed people as well as lowest price when awarding tenders.

Harbour Way Project Manager John Skentelbery was among those interviewed for the programme, explaining Costain’s aim of maximising local employment opportunities.

He said that 33 local unemployed people had been taken on, both by Costain itself and by members of its supply chain, including security personnel, carpenters and assistant engineers.

During the tender process, “We made a commitment that we would employ one unemployed person for every £1 million of turnover,” he explained later.

As well as providing jobs, the Company also encouraged locally-employed staff to take qualifications such as NVQs that could be of future benefit to them. “Hopefully we can retain them and they will go on to the next job with us. Several people that we employed on the Church Village bypass, for example, came down to Port Talbot with us.

“But if the opportunities aren’t there at the end of this job, at least they’re fully armed for the job market.

“We have several assistant engineers who haven’t come through the degree route. We’re training them and they’re going to day release classes at local colleges, going through a BTEC in civil engineering. Some taken on are going through HNCs and one is going on to a degree.”

Director of Highways Tim Bowen added: “We make a point of doing this and have done it in a number of locations. It’s part of our responsibility of putting something back into the local community and giving them a long-term benefit.”