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Staffordshire skills increase supports new job opportunities

A countywide skills programme to boost people’s job opportunities is ahead of target in getting people into work or training, while near full employment in Staffordshire continues.

The £58million decade-long skills programme is administered by the county council on behalf of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Figures released today show that just 1.5 per cent of people in Staffordshire claim out of work benefits which is lower than both regional and national averages.

The skills programme, which runs to 2024, has seen a 50 per cent reduction in the number of working age people with no qualifications. In addition, it has seen over 18,000 people take part in learning programmes and exceeded its target with nearly 7,800 people progressing into work or training schemes.

At the beginning of the academic year, Staffordshire was the sixth highest local authority area for reducing the number of 16 and 17-year-olds not in employment, education or training (NEETs).

The LEP, through colleges and training providers, established an advanced manufacturing and engineering hub. It has seen over 7,500 trainees and apprentices benefit.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for learning and employability Philip White said:

“It is essential that people of all ages have the right skills to meet the demand of businesses in our key industry sectors.

“As a county we are an attractive place to do business due to our connectivity, wealth of sites to develop and successful cross sector working. We must ensure the better skilled, better paid jobs that are being created can be filled by our residents. This is good for the county’s ongoing prosperity and importantly for the wellbeing of Staffordshire people, who will be better equipped to progress through their careers.

“Our skills programme is clearly delivering results. It is targeting those who need support most and establishing clear working links with industry.”