Universal Studios theme park plan could create up to 10,000 jobs for Bedfordshire

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It could also generate up to 5,000 construction jobs

Up to 10,000 new jobs could be created if plans for a Universal Studios theme park and resort near Bedford get the go-ahead.

And Universal Destinations & Experiences has said that more than 75 per cent of the workforce would come from the surrounding area – including Bedford, Luton and Central Bedfordshire.

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The proposed theme park would create around 8,000 new jobs on opening, with the figure rising to 10,000 by year 20.

The entrance of  Universal Studios in Hollywood . Picture:  GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty ImagesThe entrance of  Universal Studios in Hollywood . Picture:  GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images
The entrance of Universal Studios in Hollywood . Picture: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

The project would also generate thousands of construction jobs with an estimated onside peak workforce of 5,000.

And the company added: “This project would become one of the largest single employers in Bedford, the surrounding areas, and indeed the whole of the UK. Evidence from our other theme parks suggests that, for every job supported within the theme park, it can be expected that at least 1.5 further jobs would be supported across the economy, meaning a net additional 20,000 jobs could be supported by the project at its peak.”

Speaking at a public engagement session yesterday (Tuesday), Page Thompson, president of new ventures at Universal Destinations & Experiences, said: “ We want to engage with all the educational institutions in the area and get people prepared for our opening and train them if they want to work with us.

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“We take great pride in the fact that we don't just create jobs, we create careers for people. In Orlando, 50 per cent of the management team started as hourly employees. It really is possible, if you have the drive and the training we offer, to rise.”

John McReynolds, SVP of External Affairs from Universal Destinations & Experiences, added: “We want to support where people work, live and play so they can have a world-class life.”

On the project website, Universal Destinations & Experiences says: “We invest significantly in our people with training and development programmes and we would do the same here.

"A range of jobs at different experience levels would be created, each with genuine growth opportunities.”

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It goes on to say: “We play an active role in our local communities and have a proven track record of partnering with local schools and colleges. We are eager to collaborate with wider organisations such as The Prince’s Trust Team Programme and 4YP to explore how we can provide opportunities to local young people. We have done this very successfully in the past and have included two case studies in these materials.

“We work with local businesses to support a healthy and growing local economy at our parks and resorts around the world. As part of our outreach to local businesses, we typically conduct information seminars on how to do business with Universal. If the project moves forward, we will provide further information on these programmes."

Mr Thompson added that the company is keen to hear from people – with a feedback survey set to run until May 6.

While the project is still in the early stages, it is hoped that a decision on whether or not it will go ahead will be made by the end of the year, with construction expected to last five or six years.

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