A procurement manager at Transport for London (TfL) has outlined how the organisation is using purchasing to help close an engineering skills gap in the UK.
Tim Rudin, supplier skills project manager at TfL, told a conference how they included skills and employment requirements in contracts.
“In transport infrastructure sectors we’re looking at something along the lines of 20% skills gaps in some of the most critical areas,” Rudin said at the LUPC & SUPC Conference.
“Essentially we put skills and employment requirements into our contracts... to require our suppliers to create skills and employment outcomes as part of doing business with us,” he added.
Depending on the value of the contract, TFL gives suppliers a “menu” of desirable “strategic labour needs and training” (SLNT) outcomes to choose from.
“They can hire some graduates, they can offer some placement positions, taster days, apprenticeships, workless job starts and school engagement,” said Rudin.
“For every £1m of contract spend in the services or consultancy type contract, or for every £3m spend in something more construction/infrastructure like, we require our suppliers to create one SLNT output,” Rudin added.
Employment outcomes are also linked to other social targets TfL holds. “We’ve got significant youth unemployment in London, and we’ve got significant under representation in terms of diversity and genders,” said Rudin. “You’ll see where I’m going: can we kill two birds with one stone?”
TfL claims that 21% of almost 4,500 jobs created by Crossrail, the new line running east to west across London, were filled by people previously unemployed. TfL also says the project has created over 500 apprenticeships.
“The whole idea is premised on the fact that when [suppliers] win a contract with us they have some money they didn’t have before. So we’re going to give them x-number of million pounds, they’re going to hire some people to do that, people they didn’t have last week,” said Rudin. “So they have some new fresh job opportunities.”