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Skills drive essential to fulfil opportunities for better paid jobs

Staffordshire’s continued drive to increase skills so that people can take advantage of new job opportunities is essential, the county’s economic growth leader has said.

Figures released today show that the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Staffordshire remains at just one per cent of the local population, lower than regional (2.4 per cent) and national averages (1.9 per cent).

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said that it is now critical that local people are enabled to develop their skills to meet the needs of employers.

Last week the county council and University of Wolverhampton launched their skills deal, which will provide the necessary learning provision for people to follow a chosen career path in sectors from teaching and care to engineering.

Over the next 10 years more than 100,000 jobs in areas such as health and social care, construction, advanced manufacturing, engineering and teaching will need to be filled in the county.

The skills deal will put a framework in place to support skills development from school, college, university, apprenticeships and continuous professional development in the workplace. On Friday, the university officially opened its new centre in Stafford.

Mark added:

The University of Wolverhampton Skills Deal is another example of how the county council is forging strong links with educational establishments to increase opportunities for our residents and benefit the economy in the long-term.

It will complement the skills deal with Keele University and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Skills Hub, which we are helping to deliver. Together they are creating diverse learning environments for people of all ages and at all stages in their careers.

Of course it is good news to have among the lowest unemployment rates in the region, but we need to do more to ensure Staffordshire people have the skills to be able to take on better paid jobs. It means we can build a prosperous and more productive county for years to come.”

University of Wolverhampton deputy vice-chancellor Jackie Dunne said:

The skills deal really underlines our commitment to our work in Staffordshire and together with the county council, the local enterprise partnership and the business community we want to deliver the skills needed to help develop the economy for the future.”

People can find out more about the Wolverhampton Skills Deal by emailing UWiS.enquiries@wlv.ac.uk or calling 01902 321000. For more information on the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Skills Hub people should visit www.stokestaffslep.org.uk