Delivering social value on Thames Tideway

One of the legacy aspirations of Thames Tideway was to develop and deliver a project's skills and employment strategy. This required an innovative approach to skills and employment, as it needed to deliver the necessary skilled labor for the program and leave a positive legacy for local communities and the entire construction industry.

Jacobs worked with Tideway to create, develop and set the project’s skills, education and employment (SEE) approach. We worked with Tideway to manage the implementation across Tideway’s Main Works Contractors and the supply chain, providing staff on secondment to help lead the client’s skills and employment function. This included overseeing the delivery of vital KPIs relating to employment, skills, apprenticeships, recruitment of socially excluded groups, including people with convictions, and liaison with key stakeholders. We helped establish the client’s apprenticeship program and helped develop innovative and incentivized schemes in partnership with contractors and established an industry-leading education program.

The offering included social value services, such as local needs design, co-design, implementation and management, organizational structure and governance, measurement, and tender evaluation and moderation.

The seconded Skills and Employment Manager managed an annual budget on behalf of the client to support the delivery of strategic objectives including through third-party educational consultants, the Construction Youth Trust, Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and investment in training with the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy.

Across our program management of the Tideway program, we supported the client in developing leading-edge activities such as Tideway's Employer Project Induction Centre (EPIC) and Mates in Mind, which have positively impacted our industry’s health, safety and well-being record.

Leaving a lasting legacy

With the project almost 90% complete in May 2023, socio-economic benefits were achieved, building the local economy and leaving a legacy beyond the program. Together with Tideway, we led the development and implementation of the program’s skills and employment initiatives, including achieving market-leading KPIs across the SEE approach:

  • 1000 +

    Employed over 1,000 previously workless people to date, with a predicted additional value to society of $4.17 USD (£4.8) million by the end of the project.

  • 150 +

    Included a client-based apprenticeship scheme with 1 in 50 apprenticeship targets, realizing over 150 to date, delivering $542k USD (£624k GBP) additional social value.

  • 25 %

    Achieved 25% local employment to date, delivering $2m (£2.3m) social value.

  • 37

    Employed 37 people with convictions, delivering $2m (£2.3m) additional social value.

  • < 80 K

    Engaged over 80,000 young people in STEM through a digital education program, delivering $6.95m USD (£8m GBP) additional social value.

These successes result from a close collaboration with the local community, including the targets of 10% of new starts to be previously unemployed and 1 in 100 jobs dedicated to opportunities for people with convictions.

This scheme has also uplifted the river transport sector by helping to train new river transport workers and support the safety of river workers. Ten years ago, the Thames Skill Academy was founded, and Tideway was a founding member. The goals of this academy are to improve the competencies of the people working on the river and to develop the Riverside Personal Safety Course. This addresses a gap in a largely unregulated sector, and it has met its ambitious targets of reducing incidents on the river by 10% per annum according to the Academy. This course was recognized by the Princess Royal Training Awards in 2021. Additionally, a Continuing Professional Development course for all Thames Boat Masters and Crew has also been developed and launched.

The Riverside Personal Safety course has now been incorporated into other Jacobs major programs in the U.K. This includes support and promotion for staff that work around water.

This SEE approach won several awards for its efforts to help the local economy through social value. At the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Planning Excellence Awards in 2015, it won the award for Excellence in Planning for Economically Successful Places, and it was awarded the Business in the Community Responsible Business Champion for Outstanding Employment in 2020 in relation to the Development Consent Order.

“Overall, the delivery has been excellent and Jacobs’ contribution to that has been exemplary. From the early engagement with local schools and colleges through to the development of our strategies in this area and then on into implementing those strategies with our Main Works Contractors, the performance and commitment have been of the highest order. The Jacobs team’s passion for making a difference and ability to handle difficult situations with sensitivity have been key elements of embedding a successful skills and employment program at the heart of Tideway’s Legacy. The Jacobs team has been able to engage and involve many influential stakeholders, both internal and external, in our program and has built up Tideway’s reputation in this area to a very high level. The Jacobs team has shown perseverance and professionalism in sometimes challenging circumstances. Above all, Jacobs has helped Tideway provide many young people with significant career-enhancing opportunities. ”

Roger Bailey

Tideway Chief Technical Officer