A new Employment Hub has launched as part of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (the LEP) commitment to address current and future skills shortages in the region.
The free programme will engage over 6,000 young people over three years, with support to get them into further learning, self-employment, employment or an apprenticeship. The free service will also assist businesses to fulfil their recruitment needs. The £9 million programme has been funded through the European Social Fund (£4.5m) and has been matched from nine delivery partners’ involved in the scheme.
The enhanced support on offer to young people and students aged 15-24 will enable them to better understand the workplace and discover work and training opportunities across the region. The Hub can be accessed through various outreach activities across Leeds City Region, including face-to-face meetings and website referrals through the LEP’s Futuregoals website.
Businesses will receive a free package of support to help them engage with young people through the programme. This includes, training opportunities, information on the benefits of hiring apprenticeships and showcasing how investment in skills can lead to increased productivity, better business performance, which in turn results in greater profitability.
Dedicated support will be provided at a local level by a range of delivery partners including the Local Authority areas of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield, York and C&K Careers and Leeds Beckett University, ensuring that young people can access support easily and fulfil the needs of local employers.
The service builds on the strategic connections already established between businesses and schools through the LEP, and the LEP’s Growth Service which has supported over 10,000 SME businesses across the region. It will also provide further information for teachers and support for parents. The #Futuregoals campaign will continue to provide the latest job market information and classroom resources for pupils all ages.
Cllr Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, said:
“There’s already lots of great work in Calderdale to boost employment and skills, including our Inclusive Economy Strategy, the £1 million Business Rates Pool project to improve access to jobs and training, and the work of C&K Careers. The proposed new hub would ensure even closer links with local employers and schools, helping our businesses to thrive, our economy to grow and our young people to access quality work and learning.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said:
“This programme will further improve career prospects for so many young people in the City Region and the businesses that support them will see the significant benefits of investing in new talent which, in turn, boosts economic growth.
“Our City Region has a working age population of 1.9 million people, making it the North’s largest and fastest-growing region. We also have the youngest population in the country and Bradford alone has more under 15s than anywhere else – a huge future talented workforce.
“With some 130,000 businesses across the region, I am confident that this service will make a significant impact in improving lives and fulfilling businesses recruitment needs.”
Georgia Wilde, Junior Project Manager, Business Change & Automation, Direct Line Group, said:
“After spending my whole life in education I realised, at 18 years old, that I was ready to experience the world of work and kick-start my career. I chose to go down the apprenticeship route because the opportunities are endless and the experience gained is priceless. Every day brings a new challenge to tackle, a new skill to master and a new hurdle to jump over.
“An apprenticeship has allowed me to experience these challenges first hand. To develop and master these skills in my everyday life and to jump over any hurdles with ease as I now have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that I continue to build on through exposure to real-life situations. I am developing as both an individual and a business professional whilst studying for an industry recognised qualification that covers the same theory and content as a university degree. Almost two years ago, I made the decision to take on apprenticeship and I haven’t looked back since.”
Jon Plascott, Reliance Engineering, said:
“At Reliance we rely on our apprentices to develop our skilled workforce of the future ready for whatever technological developments the future may bring. Recruiting and training apprentices allows us to teach the right things in the right way to the right people.”
David Selby, HR Business Partner at RSA Group, said:
“RSA is proud supporter of apprenticeships and providing opportunities for young people in the communities we are based in. It’s important to us to build links and relationships with local schools and colleges to bolster our talent pipeline.
Our apprentices are highly motivated, full of energy and enthusiasm and bring fresh new ideas into the business. They breathe life into our organisation and through their structured training programme deliver exceptional skills and knowledge our customers require. We look forward to welcoming many more apprentices over the years to come”
Businesses interested in taking part in the scheme or discussing the benefits of an apprentice can contact the LEP’s dedicated growth service on 0113 348 1818 or visit www.the-lep.com(external link).
A range of careers inspiration for young people and influencers is available at www.futuregoals.co.uk(external link) where you can also register for more information and support.