Thurrock Opportunities

Thurrock Council is located on the north side of the River Thames and is home to some of the most exciting opportunities in the country. It is at the heart of global trade and logistics, with no fewer than 3 international ports. It is also well positioned on the M25 and A13 corridors, with excellent transport links west into London, north and east into Essex, and south into Kent.

Thurrock Opportunities Homepage

The Challenge

When we were introduced to Thurrock Council, they had ambitious growth plans that included an additional 30,000 new jobs to be created by the year 2037, 30,000 new homes to be built, and 1,000 acres of land ready for commercial development.

Due to the growing number of opportunities in the area, the council wanted to implement an online solution that:

Ensured businesses had access to the right support and skills

Put as many local employment and skills opportunities in one place for residents

Acted as a central resource for careers material (e.g. case studies, events and materials)

Our Approach

From the outset, we knew this project would be challenging due to the wide variety of stakeholders involved in the local economy. These stakeholders included residents of all ages, employers of all different shapes and sizes, education providers, training providers, charities and internal council departments. Whatever we implemented had to offer a valuable service to each stakeholder.

Due to the complexity of the project we engaged in a lengthy pilot process that saw us implement an employment and skills platform that covered the South East of England. This platform enabled a wide range of engagements to take place between all different stakeholders. 

We used this platform to engage with as many stakeholder groups as possible to collect a comprehensive range of feedback. We needed to know how businesses would engage with a digital tool for the promotion of their employment opportunities, how businesses were going to use it to access business support, how residents would use it to apply for employment opportunities, how willing training providers would be to upload information, how schools would interact with it and what devices users would use to access the service.  

To answer these questions, PDMS and Thurrock Council engaged with stakeholders including:

  • The Economic Development & Skills Partnership group at Thurrock Council
  • Thurrock Adult Community College
  • Inspire Youth Hub
  • Essex Employment and Skills Board
  • Essex Provider Network
  • Local schools in Thurrock
  • Careers Fairs
  • South East LEP

 

Each stakeholder encouraged use of the platform to a different degree which enabled us to capture the feedback and insight we needed to come up with a plan for the final solution.

The Solution

Once the feedback had been analysed, we created a multi-disciplinary team in PDMS to devise the best way forward. After a series of meetings, we created a plan that acted on the feedback and would ensure Thurrock Council could achieve their objectives. The plan focused on an innovative approach to creating a one stop shop portal that required minimal effort from stakeholders and a new and improved user experience and branding.

To create the one-stop-shop portal without requesting stakeholders to input data, we aggregated vast amounts of accessible data into a PDMS platform, which we fed directly into a newly branded Thurrock Opportunities website. This resulted in a Thurrock specific website that is packed full of real time apprenticeship, employment, training and event information that users can search and apply for. Importantly, stakeholders are not required to input this information into the system because the system is smart enough to grab the information from other sources.

The changes we made to the user experience enabled users to access the information they wanted quickly. This also resulted in a ‘search opportunities’ feature on the homepage to allow quick access to all of the aggregated data.

The Results

As soon as we went live with the solution the feedback was incredibly positive. It was clear to all that we had achieved our objectives because:

 

Businesses can use the solution to find the right support

Residents can find local employment and learning opportunities in one place

The solution can function as a repository for careers material

“Thurrock Opportunities is absolutely fantastic for our young people and I shall be taking it into the schools and promoting it to all our young people. It’s an excellent One Stop Shop for careers, jobs and courses information. Looking forward to working with it and adding to the platform.”
Yvonne Evans
Inspire Youth Hub, Thurrock Council