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Article 23/05/2024

West Yorkshire key area for two new employability initiatives headed by EDT

West Yorkshire Combined Authority is injecting £10 million of Shared Prosperity Fund funding into initiatives across the region which aim to reduce inequalities, raise living standards and grow the economy. Two of these initiatives aim to address the issues that prevent economically inactive and unemployed people from joining the workforce.

Comprised of the programmes Pathways to Progress and Future Forward, these projects will see non-profit organisation Education Development Trust (EDT) combine their broad expertise with the knowledge of local partners embedded within communities across the combined authority region. 

Drawing upon rigorous research, EDT will lead a consortium of charities and youth services in both programmes to transform the life prospects of young and unemployed people in West Yorkshire. Residents will be enabled into work using a holistic approach that accounts for issues such as skills shortages, physical and mental health impairments, employer support and familial commitments. 

The first of the two programmes, Pathways to Progress, will assist workless households to address their immediate needs, grounding recipients’ journeys into work in personal growth plans which place career progression within the wider context of wellbeing and strong community networks.  

Leveraging local partnerships is fundamental to the scheme, which will link the expertise of different stakeholders and encourage participation in the form of Communities of Practice (CoPs). EDT will help bring together local professionals, each of whom will have a hand in breaking down the structural barriers which stand in the way of the long-term unemployed. 

The second of the programmes, Future Forward, is focused on youths aged 16 - 24, and will draw upon EDT’s research in conjunction with the Employability Related Services Association (ERSA) into those not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and how they can be assisted into the labour market.  

Making full use of existing youth services in the area, each young person involved with the scheme will benefit from bespoke support to help them develop skills, build confidence, and aim for fulfilling careers. The same collaborative approach shall be taken, with CoPs providing a cooperative space for education professionals to share insights and understand the interplay of challenges NEETs face in finding work.  

Elaine Inglis from Education Development Trust said:  

“Multi-faceted problems call for multi-faceted solutions, and this pair of programmes recognises that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to helping people into the workplace. 

“There are charities, careers advisers and employment services doing incredible work across West Yorkshire, but services are not always joined up. This new framework will provide comprehensive and tailored help to residents, making a powerful difference to their lives by helping them to provide for themselves and their families, as well as the regional economy at large which will benefit from these new workers being brought into the fold of the workforce. 

“We will work closely with West Yorkshire’s five local authorities to review what’s presently on offer and refine it with the evidence-based approach we apply to all that we do. This funding from UKSPF will be transformative to the region, and as with all projects our aim here will be to maximise its impact and make every penny count.” 

These projects are funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and is delivered on behalf of West Yorkshire Combined Authority. 

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said:  

“There are too many people at a disadvantage when it comes to finding and keeping work, so I’m delighted to get these new initiatives off the ground as part of our focus on a region of learning. 

“I want everyone in West Yorkshire to have the skills and opportunities they need to succeed, regardless of their personal circumstances. 

“Providing tailored support for people to smash down the barriers they face will help us to grow our economy and build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.” 

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