Actions to help Honda-associated companies deliver a programme of welfare support for their Swindon workforce are being coordinated by a group of partners from across the public and private sector.
The Honda and Supply Chain Coordinating Steering Group, led by Swindon Borough Council, was established back in February to support the national Honda Taskforce convened by the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The steering group has met several times, with the sub task groups underneath it meeting frequently. A lot of work is taking place behind the scenes with Honda of the UK Manufacturing; Honda R&D; Honda Trading; Honda Logistics and other direct suppliers.
This is to identify where targeted efforts can complement existing activity to support the workforce during phased redundancies between now and the end of car production at the South Marston factory in 2021.
The steering group is coordinating actions across a number of areas including: matching the highly sought after skills of the workforce to local opportunities; support for the supply chain; future opportunities for the site; community wellbeing and Swindon’s continued economic growth.
Examples of initial actions progressed by the steering group include:
- Working with national agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Education Funding Agency, Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, local colleges the National Careers Service and others to provide a package of support for staff looking to either find new jobs locally or start up their own businesses.
- The creation of a community wellbeing information pack for those people affected, highlighting the free-to-use support available locally both for employees and their families.
- Engaging with local and national stakeholders to organise a 2020 ‘Meet the Buyer’ event supporting supply chain businesses to look for future contracts.
- Supporting Honda of the UK Manufacturing in understanding how its South Marston site could be used in the future to provide the most impactful legacy for the community and economy, while maintaining a local agenda aimed at ensuring it remains a core employment site.
- Ensuring Swindon’s need for additional investment and support is heard at a national level working with the town’s MPs and Local Enterprise Partnership.
Councillor Oliver Donachie, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Place and member of the Honda Steering Group, said: “The Honda Steering Group, which includes representatives from the company, is meeting on a regular basis because it is paramount we ensure that the most appropriate support is in place for workers when they need it.
“The pace and nature of our support needs to dovetail with the companies’ timescales and processes as it phases redundancies between now and the end of production at the plant in 2021. The companies are putting a huge amount of support in place for Associates and part of the work of the steering group is to bolster those efforts in the right way, at the right time.
“We are continuing to reach out to Honda’s supply chain to support their goal of identifying potential new customers for when the factory eventually closes, while also assisting Honda of the UK Manufacturing as it considers the future of the site.
“There is still a great deal still to do, but we will continue to work closely with the companies to put the necessary support in place.”