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The Celtic Freeport private-public sector partnership is led by Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven.

The Freeport also includes renewables developers, energy companies, industrial complexes, innovation assets, academic institutions and education providers.

13 May 2024

Social Value at the Heart of Celtic Freeport Initiatives

As the Celtic Freeport takes shape, it is not just about economic growth and infrastructure development, social value remains a core tenet of its expansion efforts.

The Freeport's approach to fostering social well-being, particularly through education and housing, highlights its commitment to not just altering the landscape but enhancing the lives of those within it.

Central to the Celtic Freeport's strategy is the emphasis on education and skills development, working closely with local and regional educational institutions. The goal is straightforward, cultivate a homegrown workforce capable of sustaining and advancing the region's economic growth. By partnering with local colleges and schools, the Celtic Freeport aims to create a seamless transition for young people from education to employment.

This educational strategy is about more than just job readiness, it's about retaining local talent.

The Freeport is focused on developing compelling reasons for young people to stay in the region, offering them viable career paths and progression and in doing so maintaining the cultural and social fabric of the area.

While the introduction of external expertise is inevitable, particularly in specialised fields like renewable energy, the Celtic Freeport is mindful of integrating this new talent without displacing local workers. The aim is to complement the existing workforce with outside expertise, thereby enriching the skill set available without undermining local employment opportunities.

A key social concern for the councils involved with the Celtic Freeport is housing. As the region prepares to accommodate a potentially transient workforce, especially during phases of heavy construction, appropriate planning around housing and community infrastructure becomes critical. The challenge is to create living spaces that meet the needs of both the incoming workforce and the existing residents.

The pressures on housing need to be managed carefully to prevent displacement and ensure that the influx of workers does not negatively impact local housing markets. Effective housing strategies will not only provide immediate benefits for new workers but will also contribute to long-term community stability and attractiveness as a place to live and work.

As the Freeport progresses, it continues to serve as a blueprint for how to balance economic ambition with social responsibility, ensuring that the benefits of growth are widespread and inclusive.

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