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Chancellor of the Exchequer Opens Port of Tilbury's New Training Academy

(A Port of Tilbury News Release)

The Port of Tilbury, London’s major port, today (31 March 2014) welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, to open the new Tilbury Training Academy where students are learning the vital skills they need to be part of the workforce of the future.

The Chancellor visited the port to deliver a speech at the port’s historic London Cruise Terminal and also to see for himself the excellent facilities at the Port of Tilbury's new training academy. The Chancellor was also taken on a tour of operations at the port and to see the outcome of the multimillion pound investment at London Container Terminal, one of the UK’s largest container terminals, which together with the rest of the port handled one million standard size containers (TEUs) in 2013. He was also briefed on the investment at the newly launched London Paper Terminal, which handles over 400,000 tonnes of paper products each year, and the development of a new 70-acre distribution park on the outskirts of the port - called London Distribution Park - which will bring over 1,100 jobs to the area.

Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “Creating jobs and getting people into employment are central to building a stronger, more competitive economy. Government action is creating long-term training and career opportunities for hard-working people, and it is at places like the Tilbury Training Academy that young people will develop the skills they need to enter the workforce. And what better place for them to do this than right next to London's major port, a big employer from where UK manufactured goods are shipped all over the world."

Commenting on the launch Perry Glading, Chief Operating Officer at Forth Ports (owners of The Port of Tilbury) said: “We were thrilled that the Chancellor visited us today to open our training Academy. We are seeing the real benefit of our focus on skills development with a rise in our skills per operational employee to 27, a 30% increase over the last three years.

"We need a skilled workforce to deliver the excellent service levels our customers require and the academy’s programmes are a significant part of our strategy. We are a large employer with over 800 people directly employed and we contribute to the local economy with over 8,000 jobs depending on us to continue to be successful.”

At the opening of the training academy, the Chancellor met some of the staff and the students currently taking part in the skills development programmes. The newly refurbished building was previously the headquarters for the logistics team for the 2012 London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games who used the port’s strategic location close to London for their operations.

With the investment in a new building, skilled instructors and equipment, the training Academy will now be able increase the number of trainees it can accommodate from 20 to 60 each year. The majority of the students at the Academy include young trainees, apprentices, port employees and others from the local area who are learning key skills for the current or future roles. Many academy students are from areas with traditionally high levels of youth unemployment and have successfully gone on to start Apprenticeships and other permanent full-time positions within the port after completing their traineeship.

31 March 2014 - ends -

Further information/images:

Debbie Johnston, Spreng & Co – 07532 183 811 / debbie@sprengandco.com