Last Friday, I had the privilege of cutting the ribbon to officially open a new floor of AECOM's office in Croydon. The fact that major multinational companies like this are expanding their presence in Croydon is a clear sign of the transformation of the town's reputation over the last few years thanks in large part to the decisions the then Conservative-controlled Council took in the aftermath of the riots (policies that, to be fair, the current Labour Council has continued).
Whilst I was there, I had the opportunity to learn about some of the projects that AECOM staff based in Croydon are working on such as the upgrade of rail services into Waterloo and the Thames Tideway Tunnel, a major upgrade to central London's Victorian sewerage system which will stop overflows when it rains heavily being discharged into the River Thames.
As Housing Minister, I was particularly interested to learn about the work AECOM has done in partnership with the YMCA on Y:CUBE, affordable housing which can be built quickly off-site and which is so well insulated that it requires little or no heating, even in the winter months, so not only rents but energy bills are low.
But the thing about this company that most impressed me was their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and in particular to young people. They're not only raising money for lots of local charities, but working hard to get more young people involved in their industry. 39 students from Croydon have undertaken a work experience placement with AECOM so far this year and many former work experience students go on to join the AECOM team as graduate trainees.
It was great to see what AECOM staff are working on. We need more companies like this in our town.