New Project Launched in Leeds and Bradford to Help People Back into Work

A transformational £18.25 million project will support 14,000 residents across Leeds and Bradford to improve their skills and significantly increase their prospects of moving into employment.

The funding has been awarded by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) following a competitive tendering exercise. It is part funded through European Structural and Investment Funds Programme (ESIF) and will see Leeds City Council partner with Bradford Council and other local delivery partners to provide a number of activities and one-to-one support to unemployed people aged 18 and above, aimed at enabling job seekers to move closer to the labour market.

The programme known as Employment Hub will run alongside current initiatives aimed at supporting young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) and those at risk of becoming NEET up to the age of 24 into employment or further education.

This means that tailored and comprehensive support into employment or education will be available to all unemployed residents in Leeds and Bradford.

The three-year programme will be accessible to all who meet the eligibility criteria but there will be a specific focus on engaging certain groups that are disadvantaged in the labour market such as people from BAME groups, those aged over 50, lone parents and individuals who are long term jobless for over two years.

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In Leeds, a team of over 20 Employment Advisors will be on hand to deliver the programme from community hubs across the city. Blue Apple Training will also deliver support in Leeds and bring significant key worker expertise.

Support includes an initial assessment to establish the participant’s skills, level of capability and to identify any specific barriers. Based on this, they will then receive an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). From there, they’ll receive ongoing one to one support from an Employment Advisor including CV support and interview techniques, activities to raise confidence and change mindset and help arranging opportunities with employers such as work experience. Participants will also be able to access training and basic skills support including ESOL.

Bradford Council will deliver under the same project with its delivery partners – Incommunities, Aspire-igen, SkillsHouse, ITI Yorkshire and Specialist Autism Services – offering a range of tailored individual support to address barriers to work based on identified need. The partners will also work closely with employers to meet their recruitment needs, ensuring participants are equipped with the skills they need to thrive in work.

This project will contribute to the achievement of the employment and skills targets set out in the district’s workforce development plan, “People Skills Prosperity”.

The programme across both Leeds and Bradford is anticipated to support over 14,000 residents and deliver over 2,500 job outcomes.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills, employment and equality said:

“I am thrilled that we are now able to offer this crucial support service to all people aged 18+, as well as continuing our successful work supporting young people. It is a huge achievement to have programmes that together cater for all our unemployed residents of working age.

“As a council, we are dedicated to promoting and delivering inclusive economic growth by connecting local residents to opportunity, supporting communities and raising their aspirations. This programme allows us to do this and take huge steps towards ensuring all our residents have the skills they need for life and are able to access sustainable employment to support themselves and their families.”

Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said:

“It’s great news for Bradford and for our region that we have secured this funding for the Employment Hub. The hub will help local adults who struggle to get work to gain more skills that local employers seek.

“The Employment Hub programme demonstrates our ambition to develop skills in our district. Our newly launched skills plan brings businesses and skills providers together so we can drive prosperity. All our residents can benefit from this. We want to improve job quality in our district so we can provide our communities with access to good jobs and careers.”

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