Leeds City Council, John Lewis and Hammerson have signed an Employment and Skills Charter, marking their commitment to support Leeds residents to access more than 1,000 new employment opportunities as part of the £165 million Victoria Gate development.
The Charter sets out how the organisations will work collaboratively to ensure Leeds and its surrounding residents, including young people, have access to skills training, retail and hospitality jobs as well as additional construction employment opportunities being created by the development in the city centre.
A key commitment within the Charter is to help ensure skills, training and access are a top priority. Hammerson, Leeds City Council and John Lewis are therefore working closely with local colleges and universities, training providers as well as specialist agencies, to help achieve this goal. Their overall aim is to support Leeds city’s aspiration of becoming a world class destination that attracts and delights customers, residents and visitors.
The Victoria Gate scheme, which is on schedule to open in late 2016, will be anchored by a regional flagship John Lewis shop and will additionally feature a two-street covered arcade with more than 30 aspirational retailers and restaurants.
Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “It is one of our top priorities as a council to ensure that everyone in the city shares the opportunities provided by economic development as we forge forward for the future.
We work closely with developers and companies setting up in the city to ensure that employment for local people is high on their agenda and I am delighted that John Lewis and Hammerson are taking their responsibilities seriously.”
Robin Dobson, development retail director at Hammerson, added: “At Hammerson, we are committed to creating long lasting employment, and training opportunities in Leeds. Signing of the Charter marks an important step in the development of Victoria Gate, and highlights the opportunities that the development will create for the local community and further afield.
“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with both John Lewis and Leeds City Council on delivering what we believe will become the North’s premier retail and leisure destination as well as the wider regeneration of the city.”
Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said: “We are committed to the local communities in which we operate, and by signing this Charter, it affirms our focus to provide local jobs for local people.
“We want to ensure that job opportunities created by our Victoria Gate shop are accessible to all Leeds residents and we look forward to welcoming new Partners into our business.”