Gary Hodgson

Peel Ports commits to skills agenda

Peel Ports Mersey has signed up to partnership agreements with local education providers Liverpool Community College and Mersey Maritime Group.

The Ports group, which operates the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal, will work with the two partners to develop job-specific training and employment opportunities in maritime and other growth sectors within the Liverpool city region.

Gary Hodgson, managing director of Peel Ports Mersey, said: "Investing in a highly skilled workforce is key to our business development strategy. Our collaborative relationship with Liverpool Community College and Mersey Maritime Group means we can offer local people access to exactly the kind of specialist training and qualifications that will make them work-ready for the maritime and logistics sector.

"This is a transformational and exciting time for the Port of Liverpool in terms of our ability to be a creator of wealth and prosperity for the region. Work is about to start on our £300m deep water container terminal, Liverpool 2, which will be operational in 2015 and will generate thousands of jobs over a 20-year period.

"By partnering with local education providers we are laying really solid foundations on which we can build a sustainable and thriving future."

Peel Port's new development – the in-river container terminal Liverpool2 – is set to create in the region of 5000 jobs. The focus of Peel Port's partnership with Liverpool Community College and Mersey Maritime Group is to ensure that the local skills base matches employment opportunities as jobs come on stream. Work is expected to start on the new terminal in the New Year.

Liverpool Community College and Mersey Maritime Group are involved in the development of two University Technical Colleges in Merseyside; a Low Carbon / SuperPort UTC in Liverpool and Birkenhead Engineering UTC in Wirral, both of which were approved by the Department for Education in May. The Liverpool Low Carbon and SuperPort University Technical College will be led by Liverpool Community College and Liverpool John Moores University. The Birkenhead Engineering UTC is being led by the Cammell Laird shipyard, together with University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Wirral Metropolitan College and Mersey Maritime Group.

The Port of Liverpool recently welcomed its largest intake of apprentices for 20 years, including its first female engineering apprentice.

Elaine Bowker, principal and chief executive of Liverpool Community College, said: "We have a responsibility as influential organisations in the city to help individuals realise the current and future employment opportunities across the city region, and to provide the relevant training for local people to take advantage of those opportunities, particularly in growth areas for the city region such as low carbon and logistics. The opening of our University Technical College in 2014 will provide important academic and technical training in logistics and deliver the skills necessary to drive forward the emerging low carbon economy and the SuperPort initiatives, in which Peel Ports has a key role to play."

Jim Teasdale, chief executive of Mersey Maritime Group, said: "The maritime sector is part of the life blood of this region, and the sector is more successful now than it has ever been. The opening of Birkenhead Engineering UTC in 2014, a specialist engineering college on the Mersey Maritime Group site, will further strengthen our ability to meet demand for engineering skills as the Port of Liverpool grows. Our partnership with Peel Ports gives local people a better deal – better skills, better prospects and better security. It is great news for the Liverpool City Region and will help to reinvigorate economic growth across the region."

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