Thames Set For A Bright Future
Port of London Authority (PLA) chairman, Christopher Rodrigues has heralded a bright future for the Thames, identifying strong prospects for growth and a new skills academy to facilitate the training of people to work on the river in a recent speech.
Rodrigues marked a strong year of growing river use, with port trade exceeding 45 million tons and over 10 million passenger trips on the River Thames. He said activity on the river is expected to grow strongly over the next 20 years, with the Thames Vision project identifying six goals for growth: the biggest ever Port of London; 20 million passengers on the river; more freight moved on the Thames; greater participation in sport; an improved environment; and more people enjoying the river than ever before.
“The vision is a perfect device for gathering together all river users – large and small – behind a program that ensures the development of a vibrant, safe, commercially successful river not just in the next year or two, but for 20 years ahead,” Rodrigues said. “The launch of the vision is starting to change what people say about the Thames. It is the beating heart of our city and a great future beckons for all its future stakeholders.”
The Thames Vision represents a major project for the PLA, Rodrigues noted. “There’s still a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’ll start with the low hanging fruit this year and work with interested parties to develop implementation plans for the strategic projects and to confront the tradeoffs those projects will require. It is an exciting time for the Thames and no better time to work on the river.”
The PLA recently created the Thames Skills Academy (TSA) a learning and skills partnership where employers subscribe to sector-specific off-the-job training to provide efficient, expertly-delivered skills that meet the river’s needs.
“Well-trained, skilled people are vital to making the most of the new opportunities highlighted in the Thames Vision,” said Rodrigues. “For young people coming to the river at the start of their working lives, and indeed for experienced workers as they up-skill, the TSA will be a critical resource. It will make sure river workers are equipped to contribute directly and indirectly to the Tideway project,” which is building a tunnel under the river, “the biggest single development project on the Thames in over a century. Beyond that, in five or six years’ time, when Tideway has finished its work and the Thames is much cleaner, there will be a pool of skilled labor ready to move on to the next major project making use of the Thames.”
The TSA will build on the work done by the Thames Training Alliance (TTA), whose latest group of apprentices will formally complete their training in the coming weeks. The TTA is ceasing operations on completion of this group’s training.