Creating Employment Opportunities at Cotswolds Designer Outlet

Bouygues UK is currently building the Cotswolds Designer Outlet and alongside our construction activities, we are thrilled to be working with Gloucester and Tewkesbury Job Centres to provide education and employment opportunities on site.

Bouygues UK is the main contractor delivering the first phase of Cotswolds Designer Outlet in Tewkesbury, a project by Robert Hitchins Ltd. Construction works began in November 2023, and works are progressing apace ahead of opening in Spring 2025. Cotswolds Designer Outlet will introduce up to 90 new, high-quality fashion, sports, lifestyle and F&B brands in a beautifully designed, 186,000 sq ft Cotswolds-inspired setting at Junction 9 of the M5, Tewkesbury.

Tapping into the tourism market that this area’s historic and cultural attractions generate, Cotswolds Designer Outlet has the potential to form part of a unique ‘full day out’ experience in this gateway to the Cotswolds location. The designer outlet will serve the areas between Bristol and Birmingham as well as tourists visiting the Cotswolds, with the historic town of Tewkesbury on its doorstep.

Bouygues UK is working with the DWP to target job seekers who are work-ready to join the team during the construction phase. When working on any of its projects, Bouygues UK takes great steps to add to the social value of the community in which it is working. Nick Toulson, Bouygues UK’s social value advisor on this project, is working with the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Gloucester and Tewkesbury Job Centres as part of their SWAP programme.

The image to the left pictures Martin, a site worker recently recruited through the local employment and training networks.

The sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) gives jobseekers who are 16 and over and are claiming benefits, the opportunity to apply for jobs. This programme can last up to six weeks and includes pre-employment training, on-site training and mentoring, a short work placement and a guaranteed job interview or help with the application process. The first phase of the programme began in April and, as the construction programme progresses through the summer and into the autumn, further on-site job opportunities will become available.

Nick has been working with Gloucester and Tewkesbury Job Centres to deliver presentations promoting the construction sector and the vacancies available with Bouygues UK on the Outlet site. He has also run a Prepare to Work session for jobseekers which aims to provide a pool of local labourers that can be placed with Bouygues UK and its forthcoming on-site supply chain, which includes construction recruitment Sphere Solutions and local contractors McCoy’s.

Nick said,

Social value isn’t just about bringing people in to work at Bouygues UK, it is also about us putting ourselves right at the heart of the local community, with careers events and initiatives that give real visibility and opportunities on the projects we are working on.

Our work allows local people to see the progress being made on construction sites and introducing them to the wide and varied range of jobs that are available on construction projects such the Cotswolds Designer Outlet. This is something that is really important to us as a responsible building contractor.

Nick added,

Our goal is to help create a better life for communities in which we work and our collaborative approach with partners like the DWP, Sphere Solutions and McCoy’s means we have already found opportunities for those out of work to gain employment on site. For example, Sphere Solutions has employed two previously unemployed people as a labourer and a cleaner and McCoy’s has placed two apprentices and we look forward to helping more jobseekers find employment through these initiatives and partnerships.

David Werrett from DWP Employer Services said,

Nick and the team proposed a variety of support for local jobseekers to enter the construction sector and we were able to work collaboratively to structure a sequence of pre-employment activities, tailored to the area and the skills needs of the participants. The engagement level throughout was incredible and our training provider Partners in Gloucester supported with the industry standard qualification, leading to guaranteed job interviews. We hope the success of this programme forms a blueprint which can be adopted by the retailers, in preparation for the grand opening of the designer outlet.

Cotswolds Designer Outlet is being delivered in two phases and will create up to 500 new retail job opportunities for the area, a major boost for the local and regional economy that will act as a catalyst for growth.

Andrew Duncan, Head of Placemaking, Marketing and Communications at Multi-Realm, the retail operating partner for the Outlet said,

In today’s retail landscape, modern retailing demands a diverse skill set that extends beyond traditional guest service and merchandising. It now encompasses social media proficiency, with many stores taking on individual responsibility for content creation. This evolution makes the profession more dynamic and appealing, challenging outdated perceptions of retail work as merely processing transactions behind a counter. Retail staff receive extensive training, preparing them for various life situations both inside and outside the store. They gain confidence, become part of a global brand, and embrace contemporary values like sustainability, equality, and purpose.

Bouygues UK