For school leavers, finding a job or an apprenticeship to suit their skills and circumstances in the local area is high on the agenda. The annual Folkestone Jobs Fair organised by Damian Collins MP at the end of September provided the perfect opportunity for these young people to meet with companies from the district offering jobs, apprenticeships and training.
Representatives of the Otterpool Park project team were on hand at the Jobs Fair to talk to job seekers from the area about Otterpool Park, and as the coach loads of year 11 pupils began arriving, it was clear that there are plenty of young people who will need nearby jobs and housing in the years to come.
To get an idea of what young people want to see in the area, we created a survey to collect information on the types of housing and jobs young people require now and in future, as well as their initial thoughts on the draft Otterpool Park masterplan.
• 50% of respondents wanted to see more activities for young people in the local area.
• The key positives that people surveyed had about the local town were the shopping facilities and seaside location.
• 75% of 16-17 year olds plan to stay in Shepway for at least 5 years.
When asked about what they would like to see within Otterpool Park, leisure facilities such as a pool or an ice rink were named, providing a place to meet socially, and offering the health benefits needed when juggling a busy school/work/life balance.
Our plans for Otterpool Park focus as much on employment and active lifestyle opportunities as they do on the homes themselves. We want to create a new community that is designed to encourage healthy living through sports facilities and open space for cycling and walking, with the jobs available within the development for those who want them – including opportunities for self-employed workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs. In short, we want an Otterpool Park that will provide the necessary opportunities for young people to stay.
The views from the surveys will help us as we continue to shape the plans for Otterpool Park, and we hope that these young people will be living and working in the area for many years to come.