Southwark's Executive today chose Lend Lease as its major Development Partner for the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle, a project which will have repurcussions right across Southwark. Already there is the potential for more jobs and retail space from the regeneration, together with the prospect of a brand new swimming pool and even a new Town Hall!
It will be at least 12 years before the regeneration of the Elephant & Castle is complete, and in those 12 years there will be real opportunities for Southwark residents to benefit from the work in the building industry which will be generated by the regeneration taking place. But those opportunites will only come if Southwark's residents have the necessary skills for those jobs. For at least 2 years I have been arguing that Southwark desperately needs a Building Skills College to equip residents of all ages for the unprecedented opportunites which lie ahead in the borough. Such a College formed a central plank in Labour's local election manifesto last year. However, we still seem to be no further forward, and there seems to be a lack of political will within the Council to urgently address this issue.
Building trades provide opportunities for good employment and incomes for local people for at least the next decade in Southwark. It is time for the Council to take a lead on equipping reseidents with the skills they will need.