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Council to invest £500,000 in skills training

Published on Monday, April 16, 2018

THE city council is to invest a further £500,000 to help city residents get into work or training, and to stop graduates leaving Leicester for jobs elsewhere.

 

Last year the council agreed to invest £2.6m to provide training and job opportunities for people of all ages who have found it difficult to access work, apprenticeships and training; and to provide incentives to businesses to employ young people from disadvantaged groups.

 

This additional funding will be used to provide a complementary package of new initiatives to support the employment and training aims of the council’s Economic Action Plan.

 

More than 6,000 jobs have been created and almost 1,400 apprenticeships supported through actions contained in the City Mayor’s Economic Action Plan, which was first launched in 2011.

 

The new package of support includes the appointment of a skills director who will take the lead for both the city and county councils on tackling the skills challenges restricting economic growth in the area. The council will seek joint funding for this post from the county council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Economic Partnership.

 

Funding of up to £4,000 will be offered to city schools to encourage them to be more actively involved in supporting students into apprenticeships. Leicester currently has a low take-up of apprenticeships compared to other cities, with only 3% of 16 to 18 year-olds starting apprenticeships in June 2017, compared to 8.4% in Nottingham.

 

The council hopes to work with schools to help them develop initiatives such as apprenticeship clubs and open days, and to develop links with employers.

 

Retaining talented graduates is critical for a successful city economy, so funding will also go towards a new post of graduate retention officer. This will be jointly funded with De Montfort University and the University of Leicester.

 

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Tackling the skills shortages that exist in the city and county will be vital if we are to increase employment levels and deliver strong economic growth.

 

“Since the launch of my Economic Action Plan in 2011 we have created thousands of jobs and apprenticeships in the city and have also developed our own scheme which is successfully linking graduates to employment opportunities within the council.

 

“These new initiatives will enable us to work in a more coordinated way to identify the skills businesses are looking for, and to help those most in need get the training that will help them enter, or return to the labour market.”

 

Funding will also be provided for language tuition to help people who are in work, but whose poor English language is limiting their career progression. The council’s adult skills and learning team will deliver a targeted English as a Second Language (ESOL) programme.This would benefit sectors which employ large numbers of people in Leicester, such as the food and drink, and textiles sectors, which are crucial to the local economy.

 

Anyone who would like to know more about apprenticeship opportunities in the city can contact the council by emailing employmenthub@leicester.gov.uk

 

The council’s second Economic Action Plan runs from 2016 to 2020.  Leicester to Work is a key part of the action plan, which focuses particularly on supporting those most in need of help to get into work or training.