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Skills pledge for local jobs

The sea wall at Rossall, Fleetwood.

The sea wall at Rossall, Fleetwood.

Efforts to ensure Fylde coast residents can make the most of jobs created by a major £86m upgrade to the region’s sea wall have been praised.

Contractor Balfour Beatty is in talks with a Blackpool-based training centre to make sure the Fylde coast has the skills it needs by the time work starts on the sea defences next month.

Build Up, which is run by Blackpool and The Fylde College, has helped train local jobseekers for work on the sea wall and seven have already found employment with Balfour Beatty’s subcontractors before the company has even set up on the site.

Speaking at Fleetwood Town Council’s annual meeting, centre manager Roberta Austin said: “This is going to create a vast amount of jobs and if we don’t have these skilled workers, they will bring them in from somewhere else.

“We want our local people to get the benefit of working on these local jobs, then the money stays in the borough.

“That money will get spent here and that will regenerate places like Fleetwood and Cleveleys.”

Last year, the government announced funding for the £86m scheme to upgrade the sea wall at Anchorsholme and Rossall.

The work, due to be completed by 2017, will protect 12,000 homes from flooding.

Build Up, which has helped get 3,372 people into work since it was set up six years ago is providing training – in security and vehicle marshalling – that Balfour Beatty has specifically requested, in addition to its standard entry level course,

And with the bulk of the investment in the sea defences being spent in Rossall, there has been an increased focus on training up Wyre’s jobseekers over the last 18 months.

According to Mrs Austin, 214 people from the FY5, FY6 and FY7 postal areas have completed her course since the multi-million pound project was announced – and half have already found work.

Fleetwood Town Council chairman Alan Marsh said: “We are looking for jobs for the people of Fleetwood.

“We have got to make it happen and get jobs you can raise a family on.”

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