Rolls-Royce recently announced the loss of 4,600 jobs globally over the next two years.
Leaders from across the Derby, and beyond, pledged their support for Rolls-Royce employees, and to work together to manage the potential economic impact of these redundancies on Derby and the wider area.
Those leaders and partners have now gathered at the first Action Group meeting at Derby City Council offices to ensure their pledge comes to fruition.
The meeting, led by D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, focused on support for employees, and building economic resilience going forward, and comprised of partners from the city and county Councils, Rolls-Royce, the Job Centre and DWP, Futures – National Careers Service, Talent Retention Solution, the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, Derby University, the Cities and Local Growth Unit, Marketing Derby, local MPs and more.
Peter Richardson, D2N2 Chairman, said: “I am pleased to be chairing today’s action group. By working closely with partners, we’re determined to help those people who have been affected to find work in the local economy.
“We will continue to help the D2N2 area to perform at its best, building on existing investments including Infinity Park and the Castleward development, to create opportunities for all our people, businesses and communities.”
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council added: “I feel extremely reassured by the meeting today, and I hope others are too. We have an excellent group of people working together, and I know their knowledge and expertise will be of extreme value to our Action Group.
“It has been a week of difficult news for Derby, with Rolls-Royce and Bombardier both delivering big announcements, however I have every confidence that we will move forward positively as a city.
“Of course our first priority is to offer support the people who are likely to be affected by the redundancies; ensuring they are able to secure employment going forward, and making sure that their skills remain in Derby, and that is something that we will work closely with all of our partners on, in a real ‘team Derby’ approach.”
The number of jobs to be lost in Derby has not yet been reported. It has been confirmed that Rolls-Royce are in the process of fully assessing where losses will be. Those figures will be released subject to internal staff consultations.
The Action Group paid particular attention to how people affected by these redundancies could be helped to minimise the impact on them and their families. For some, this could mean making sure they are able to stay within the local area so as not to uproot their families.
As the news of redundancies broke, there has been a question mark above relevant jobs being available locally.
Discussing local manufacturing recruitment, Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce said: “Our research has uncovered that 69% of manufacturers local to the Midlands have recently tried to recruit, with six in ten of those struggling to find suitable applicants, and a further four in 10 struggling specifically to find managers.
“We know that middle managers are going to be the people impacted by these redundancies, so while we can understand what an uncertain time it is for Rolls-Royce employees, these figures show that the jobs are there locally should they want them. More than that, we know who those manufacturers going forward will be able to link those organisations in with any Rolls-Royce employees impacted.”
Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Barry Lewis, has also offered his support: “This is obviously a very worrying time for Rolls-Royce staff. We’ll work closely with Rolls-Royce and our partners to make sure affected employees have access to the right advice and benefits and help to find new jobs.”
Paul Harris, Director of Economic Development at Rolls-Royce also attended the meeting, and commented: “It is never an easy decision to reduce our workforce, and we appreciate the support that the Action Group and Derby City Council will be giving to those who may be affected by the news.
“We too are committed to helping those colleagues and are in consultation with our employees at this difficult time. We will be working closely with partners like the Action Group over the coming months. Derby and the UK will continue to be at the heart of Rolls-Royce, where we are the city’s largest private sector employer.”
Going forward, the Action Group will be looking to pool resources, and signpost employees affected to relevant jobs, CV and interview help, as well as opportunities for retraining and even start-up funding.
The group will meet monthly for the next three months, and will see the Director of HR at Rolls-Royce in attendance, as well as union representatives. The group will invite people with varying backgrounds of expertise to advise when necessary.
The Secretary of State, Greg Clark commented on the group’s meeting: “The speed with which the Action Group has been formed is a testament to the strong community spirit and sense of shared purpose that characterises Derbyshire’s communities.
“I and my colleagues in Government will do all we can to support the incredibly important work in ensuring that each and every worker is supported in finding new employment. This must be our first priority. I know that everyone present will do their utmost to secure the best outcome for local people.”
Margaret Beckett, Derby South MP echoed the sentiments of the group, saying: “I am extremely encouraged by the Action Group meeting today. It has demonstrated that there is a very keen interest from employers locally which is excellent, and I have every confidence moving forward.”
Local MP Pauline Latham continued: “It was indeed a very positive meeting. There is quite clearly a vast amount of expertise around the table, and I am certain that as long as everyone works together, we will be able to help these Rolls-Royce staff, and hopefully allow them a positive outlook for the future.”