Hartlepool 'punching above its weight' in getting people skilled up for work

Hartlepool is ‘punching above its weight’ in regards to the training services it provides to adults and children in need, according to councillors.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 7:00 pm
Hartlepool Civic Centre

An update was given to Hartlepool Borough Council Regeneration Services Committee on the work of the council’s learning and skills service.

The service delivers a wide range of initiatives and activities to tackle skills shortages and upskill the workforce.

It aims to do this by raising a learner’s aspirations and progressing people into higher levels of education, learning and sustained employment.

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Through securing external funding, the overall budget for the work has increased from approximately £1million in 2016 to the current level of circa £33.5m, with the council helping people across the area.

‘A good occupation can solve many problems’

Patrick Wilson, council learning and skills manager, said: “If you consider in January 2016 we were working with hundreds of learners in Hartlepool, now we’re working with thousands of learners across the Tees Valley.

“My view of life is everything can be resolved if you have someone in a good occupation and sustained employment where they feel secure.”

The learning and skills service helps run a variety of projects, including the Tees Valley Youth Employment Initiative, which will be working with 10,000 young people throughout the lifetime of the programme.

This includes programmes offering mentoring support for young people aged 15-19 who are ‘removed from the labour market’, with 140 staff working on the programme, and providing them with links to businesses.

Coun Jim Lindridge said: “It’s been a fantastic project and I think we’ve been leading the way in the Tees Valley and the stats are showing as a town we’re punching above our weight and we are caring about the community.”

There is also a ‘Routes to Work’ programme, managed by the the Tees Valley Combined Authority, with the £6million external funding for the project across the Tees Valley being secured by Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.

He said: “The team needs to be commended , we’ve got a cohort of people, some have learning disabilities, some have been out of the labour market for 10/20 years, to get them actually into employment is a huge task and a job well done.”

Programme helped scored of people into employment

Already the programme has helped 64 people into employment, with 29 of those to date being in work for a sustained period of 13 weeks or more, while hundreds more have received ‘positive outcomes’ from the service.

The service also runs an adult education provision programme and in 2018/19 the Adult Skills Achievement rate was 92.97%, up from 80.55% in 2015/16, which was praised by officers.

Other schemes are also run through the Waverley Allotment project, after securing £400,000 of Big Lottery Reaching Communities Funding.

Targets for the Waverley project have already been beaten, including helping over 500 disadvantaged people with therapeutic support.

They have also helped 200 people with mental health issues and more than 230 adults with learning difficulties to progress towards volunteering and employment.