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CAs unveil major pilots to break down barriers to work

A number of schemes aiming to supply disadvantaged people and long-term jobseekers with specialist support to get back into work have today been launched by the six Combined Authorities.

The programmes are expected to help over 18,000 people, including disabled and older people, tackle long-term barriers to work and progression.

Up to £28m is to be pledged by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to support the schemes, which include a Health and Care Sector Progression Academy to train care workers in Peterborough, an early intervention scheme to prevent long-term unemployment in Sheffield and a business-led training hub in the Tees Valley.

The pilots have been agreed as part of the devolution deals to the Combined Authority regions, which are hoping to boost growth and jobs in their areas.

“We have record numbers of people in work which is great news, but there are still people missing out on the available opportunities because of barriers to employment,” secretary of state for work and pensions David Gauke said.

“These pilots are yet another step forward in our efforts to help people of all backgrounds enjoy the benefits of work, and will boost the wide-ranging support we currently offer through local experts like Jobcentre Plus.”

Communities secretary Sajid Javid added that as part of the devolution revolution we’ve handed swathes of power and significant investment to help boost jobs and growth across the country.

“Now we’re going even further to support six areas with devolution deals by working with the new combined authority mayors to pilot innovative employment schemes.”

He also commented that the pilots would trial new approaches to help the most disadvantaged people in society get the security of a good job and a regular pay packet which will help to build a country that works for everyone.

Responding to the news of the Health and Care Sector Progression Academy in his city region, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer stated: “This is a prime example of the benefits Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will receive because of our devolution deal with central government.

“The additional £5.2m is set to create 600 new apprenticeships, providing us with an opportunity to upskill local people whilst supporting the health and care industry. I am excited to see this pilot develop and help us make a difference in the county.”

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley mayor, added that the business-led training hub in his area would support work that has seen unemployment halved in the area over four years.

“Things are getting better, but there remain stubborn barriers to work,” he explained. “This new investment from the government, secured because we have a mayor, gives us a unique opportunity to address long-term unemployment.

“Today I’m calling on local support services, voluntary organisations and local councils to work together to provide the best possible support to help people back to work.”

Top Image: Rui Vieira and PA Wire

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