THURROCK Council has asked the South Essex Local Enterprise Agency (SELEP) to help support long-held hopes to create an Academy for Transport and Logistics in the borough.
The funding bid was approved in December and on Wednesday (16 January) the council’s cabinet approved using the £320,000 to confirm there was interest and support from the scheme.
Cabinet member for transport and regeneration, Cllr Andy Smith, told the meeting: “We want it, but we have to make sure there is a need and desire for it among all the companies that live and work in Thurrock.”
He added: “We have a site ready on London Gateway, it’s not a question of the site, just make sure what is needed and what we need to teach and train people there.”
A report to cabinet stated: “The Ports, Transport and Logistics sector represents a major element of the borough’s economy. Already employing around 8,500 workers, the sector is set to grow with the planned expansion of the Port of Tilbury (providing an estimated 1,500 additional jobs) and the opening of London Gateway which could ultimately provide an additional 12,000 jobs.”
Cllr Smith said: “We’ve got funding from the SELEP Growing Fund and we’re grateful for that. We’re going to use this money to investigate and see if it is a runner and if it is a runner – which I hope it will be – I think it will make a big difference to our regeneration plans.”
He said the council’s priority was “making jobs and helping to make jobs – and we want our kids to get those jobs. This is a very good strategy and I very much support it”.
Council leader, Cllr John Kent said: “This is very good news, and I’m grateful to the list of partners in the report, not just the council, it has been quite a broad-based partnership to push for this.”
And Cllr Smith added: “We need to push on ahead and get this building built so our children can get the proper training for the jobs that are coming. This is a time for action not talking.”