» Project Overview


By creating an Open Linked Data platform, SkillsPlanner will enable the construction industry, known for its fragmented approach to skills planning, to become more collaborative and efficient. Over two years (2015-2017) the utility of the data will be tested by four R&D projects focused on employment, training, councils and job brokerage. Consortium members will research, develop, test and deliver the SkillsPlanner model.

The core project partners are: Ethos (lead partner), Camden Council, London Borough of Islington, Seme4, Tideway, University of Plymouth, and Westminster City Council.



> Camden

Camden Council

The London Borough of Camden has a significant track record of generating and delivering construction training and employment brokerage to local residents. We have a significant local delivery function and support the creation of approximately 250 apprenticeship starts a year across construction and non construction sectors. This is further enhanced by the delivery of 130 job starts for construction operatives.

The borough delivers considerable local opportunities which are achieved through s106 negotiation with planning and regeneration projects in the borough. This has led to the creation of over 450 construction apprenticeship positions since 2011. Key projects such as Kings Cross regeneration have ensured that Camden is well represented in delivering construction training and brokerage. Combined with the councils investment programme and substantial other developments in the borough this will ensure that there is a significant amount of regeneration and construction work planned for the future. We believe that this provides a strong rationale for embedding SkillsPlanner in the work that we do, supporting Camden to make better use of the opportunities that are expected to be generated over the coming years.

> Ethos


Ethos is a growing network of social entrepreneurs and innovators who create sustainable solutions to society’s complex challenges. For us, success isn’t just economic – it’s about achieving positive social and environmental outcomes.

Ethos was founded in 2010 by Robert Pye and Tony Clarke who had a vision of the future of work: better for individuals, better for organisations, better for the world we live in.

Unlike business consultancies whose relationships with clients are based on payment in exchange for services, Ethos co-ventures to deliver better outcomes for all and stay focused on results as partners.


> Islington

Islington Council

Islington is an area with a high level of development, ranging from large regeneration schemes like the Arsenal redevelopment, King’s Cross Central, City Forum, Packington Estate, City North etc. which offer a steady stream of employment opportunities in the construction industry. In addition, ongoing social housing repair and refurbishment work, public realm maintenance and RSL stock maintenance work contribute to construction being one of the key sectors in the local economy. Locally, we have an average supply of over 200 opportunities annually, ranging from trade positions such as carpenters, labourers, electricians to office and professional roles such as resident liaison officers, Trainee Site Managers and Trainee Surveyors.

Unemployment in Islington is higher than in most London boroughs and there are persistent pockets of deprivation where residents are marginalised and excluded from accessing employment and training opportunities. Many people would like to work in construction but either do not have the motivation, skills, abilities or the social networks to access such opportunities. This project is trying to help address this mismatch between employment and skills opportunities available locally in the construction industry and the readiness of unemployed local residents, wishing to enter that industry.

Islington council has been working in partnership with Camden council for many years to address skills gaps and labour needs in the local construction industry and jointly the two councils have a strong track record of delivery. By providing real skills forecasting we can target the skills shortage and address the issue along with contractor’s and training providers. This project will also allow us to target and promote the next generation of skilled and professional construction workers.


> Plymouth University

Plymouth University

SERIO, part of Plymouth University, provides specialist social, economic and market research regionally and nationally. We deliver analysis and intelligence to public, private and third sector organisations. Our research helps our clients make informed decisions and develop effective policy and strategy. By listening closely to clients’ needs, we make sure that our projects outputs are practical, accessible and tailored, whether they are reports, community workshops or business presentations. This client-focused approach, allied with the most up-to-date, objective research and intelligence techniques, has made us a leader in the field.


> Seme4


Seme4 Ltd is a technology and consulting company specialising in Linked and Open Data. Founded by world-leading academics and policy advisers Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, the Seme4 team is now exploiting years of research spent at the forefront of web and semantic technology development.

By deploying cutting edge Linked Data technologies in real-world commercial environments, Seme4 provides data integration solutions with unparalleled flexibility and cost efficiency. The Seme4 Platform provides the means for data to be collated and integrated from multiple sources, forming a coherent information resource, and offers a range of services facilitating the rapid development of web services, visualisations, bespoke applications, and information portals.

Through the assimilation of disparate data, and by breaking down of information silos in complex and dynamic systems, organisations typically find that the benefits of the combined knowledge are significantly greater than the sum of the individual constituent parts. Seme4’s use of Linked Data technologies enables greater insights to be gained in complex information domains, and facilitates novel solutions to be developed which address real-world problems.


> Tideway


The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major new sewer, urgently needed to protect the tidal River Thames from pollution. London’s sewerage system is no longer fit for purpose and spills millions of tonnes of sewage into the tidal section of the river every year. Tideway is building the 25km tunnel, from west to east London, to tackle the problem of overflows from the capital’s Victorian sewers for at least the next 100 years, and enable the UK to meet European environmental standards. Construction of the tunnel will create more than 4,000 direct, sustainable jobs at the peak of construction and a further 5,000 indirect.


> Westminster

Westminster Council

Westminster City Council has a strong track record of delivering a range of services and interventions that support economic growth for business and residents alike. As a destination for large business and development, we have a number of planned and current large infrastructure and strategic developments that will bring prosperity and opportunity to the borough e.g. Crossrail and the Westminster Housing Renewal programme.

As a function of the Economic Development team, the council is adept at leveraging its position and influencing partners to unlock work related opportunities for unemployed residents including apprenticeships, job vacancies and pre‐employment training. The team currently work closely with planning to influence planning policy related to local labour commitments of developers and s106 obligations and have strong relationships with the local Job Centre Plus and employment support providers who support our unemployed residents.

The SkillsPlanner and the attached coordinator resource will sit within the Growth, Planning and Housing Directorate. Within this directorate there are a range of teams including Economic Development, Development control, Housing, Planning, Transport and Public Realm. The mix of expertise in the directorate will include architects, planning officers, environment specialists, economic development professionals and an administration and finance function. The SkillsPlanner and co‐ordinator resource will enable the council to improve its planning, coordination and monitoring of work that links unemployed residents to the opportunities expected through the variety of construction related developments in the borough.

The Technology

Seme4’s Linked Data platform – the 5* Open Data format – and supporting technologies are designed to tackle complex data integration challenges. Utilising W3C standards, information can be represented in machine processable formats and made easily accessible for consumption by both human users and software tools via common Web protocols.


Unconstrained by traditional tabular database structures, information is stored in ‘knowledge graphs’ which are both extremely flexible and readily extensible. Common concepts within and across datasets are linked through the use of shared identifiers, and can be further enhanced utilising context dependent mapping tools. As new datasets are added, additional mappings between keywords and topics are introduced, highlighting equivalent terms, concepts and relationships, such that the information across disparate sources becomes interoperable through a “web of data”. Crucially for the success of SkillsPlanner, these additions can be made without having to modify to existing datasets or underlying data structures, or adversely affecting the tools or applications that are using the existing body of information.