Salford is set to agree a plan for a newly funded £1.5million Skills and Work programme during Lifelong Learning Week.
The updated programme will help to provide opportunities to young people progressing into education and work, connect adults to employment and training opportunities and support businesses to create sustainable opportunities for local people.
The aim is to support individuals and communities over a lifetime of continued learning to take advantage of opportunities and reduce inequalities.
A report, approved at the council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 9 November, focused on three outcomes to bring the council’s vision of a Learning City to life:
- Improving and increasing the quality of local jobs – focusing on the foundational economy, and sectors such as hospitality, leisure, retail, and including entry level opportunities in the public and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors.
- Improve the capacity and ability of local education and technical skills providers to work with academically vulnerable young people and low skilled adults.
- Improve the skills of Salford residents.
City Mayor Paul Dennett said, “Our new Skills and Work programme will be launched on Monday 13 December 2021.
The time is right to restate the city’s commitment to education, work and skills. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, climate change and other issues have put pressure on public sector finances, resources and technological innovation. This has negatively impacted on the education and skills opportunities for people in Salford.
Employment and growth sectors in Salford continue to develop and change. It is imperative we respond quickly to reshape our skills and work commitments, priorities, and resources to respond to those opportunities and challenges. This is all about creating a better and fairer Salford for all.
Investment in skills and work for Salford residents will be part of the council’s preventative approach – as good quality and sustainable work is a core determinant of longer, healthier working lives, and in turn reduces demand over the long term for high cost acute and specialist public services.
The city’s unemployment rate has fluctuated, from 4.8% to a low of 2.6% in 2015. During the pandemic climbed again to a high of 7.3% in July 2021. Over this time period Salford’s rate has been consistently higher than both the Greater Manchester and England average. We will work with closely with partners and employers on solutions as part of an integrated labour market service approach focused on matching skills supply to demand from employers.”
Councillor Phil Cusack, Executive Support Member for Skills, Work and Business at Salford City Council, commented, “Funding is being provided to bring in external investment and will initially focus on the development of a new single ‘front door’ for Salford residents to have visibility of and access to employment and skills services in the city as well as the expansion of core existing Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) services in Salford and the creation of new vocational and employment pathways for residents in the city.
We will challenge barriers that prevent residents accessing and progressing in work or training and will provide a small grants programme that local community and voluntary organisations will be able to bid into to develop, deliver and test innovate approaches to addressing local employment and skills issues and gaps across Salford.
We will also focus on employers signing up to the city mayor’s charter, offering jobs and work experience to local people, opening up their recruitment practices, offering pre recruitment training and guaranteed interviews, skills development and increasing local supply chains.”