Skills, employment, inclusion and progression

Improving skills in the North East workforce is fundamental to our economic future, underpinning our aim of creating 100,000 jobs by 2024, and ensuring that the majority are ‘better’ jobs. We aim to meet the needs of each and every person living in our area.

Michelle Rainbow
Skills Director

Meet the Skills, employment, inclusion and progression programme
Naznin Ahmed Naznin Ahmed
Industry Alignment Support Officer
[email protected]
Dawn Bewick Dawn Bewick
Programme Support Officer: Skills
[email protected]
Karen Burgess Karen Burgess
Sector Skills Facilitator
[email protected]
Rachael Church Rachael Church
Industry Alignment Support Officer
[email protected]
David Coe David Coe
Enterprise Coordinator
[email protected]
Guy Cowen-Hutton Guy Cowen-Hutton
ONE Vision Project Coordinator
[email protected]
Hannah Cummins Hannah Cummins
Industry Alignment Coordinator
[email protected]
Mark Fox Mark Fox
Careers Hub Facilitator
[email protected]
Tom Gallon Tom Gallon
ONE Vision Project Facilitator
[email protected]
David Gibson David Gibson
Industry Alignment Support Officer
[email protected]
Phil Graham Phil Graham
Primary Facilitator
[email protected]
Roger Guy Roger Guy
ESF Claims and Monitoring Officer
[email protected]
Yvonne Haymonds Yvonne Haymonds
Careers Hub Facilitator
[email protected]
Denis Heaney Denis Heaney
Enterprise Adviser Hub Lead
[email protected]
Carly Hinds Carly Hinds
Careers Hub Facilitator
[email protected]
Lucy Johnson Lucy Johnson
Enterprise Coordinator
[email protected]
Matt Joyce Matt Joyce
Regional Lead – North East Ambition
[email protected]
Anthea Pratt Anthea Pratt
Programme Manager
[email protected]
Kim Smith Kim Smith
College Hub Facilitator
[email protected]
Neil Willis Neil Willis
Regional Project Lead: Education Challenge
[email protected]

Our long-term vision is that the North East is a place where:

  • Individuals, regardless of age or employment status, have a good understanding of the employment opportunities available in the North East and the pathways to access them. 
  • Employers have strong links with education and training providers leading to provision that meets local needs. 
  • All partners understand the importance of skills in improving productivity and living standards, with commitment to delivering good working environments for residents.  

The changing structure of the economy requires an effective response from early years to higher education.  

We aim to close the employment rate gap by 100% against the 2014 UK rate (72.1%) by 2024. 

Our vision is to create a fully integrated employment, skills and health system that is tailored to the specific needs of the area. 

Here’s how the Skills Programme links into the key areas of the Strategic Economic Plan:

Our goal is for all North East schools and colleges to be achieving the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks by 2024. By doing this, every young person should be able to identify routes to a successful working life, make more informed decisions about their future and be better prepared for the workplace.

Building on the success of the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmark pilot with schools, colleges and employers delivering outstanding careers guidance from primary education to employment.

The North East Ambition Programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund. Visit the North East Ambition website for more information.

Working with parnters to support school leaders, teachers and governors to reduce the gap between our best and lowest performing schools and to ambitiously aim that all students have the opportunity to be educated in good or outstanding schools.

Visit the North East Ambition website to find out more.

Our aim is to create high-quality work placements that give young people the opportunity to develop the skills, confidence and knowledge that will help them to secure long term employment.

We are aiming to create clusters of placements and will be selecting opportunities that can be grouped together and that offer a quality experience for young people.

Find out more about our Kickstart scheme

We are working to encourage the provision of high-quality opportunities to learn through further and higher education and other providers, and to increase partnership working between education and employers to reduce the mismatch between skills supply and demand.

Visit the North East Ambition website to find out more.

Increase social mobility and economic activity by working with partners to increase access to digital skills.

There are more people aged 50 and over in employment than ever before, and by 2020 over 50’s will make up almost a third of the working age population. In the North East, we have one of the lowest employment rates in the country for those aged 50 and over – 63.7%. This poses a real challenge.

Our aim to reduce inactivity levels in our 50+ workforce aligns with the government’s ‘Fuller Working Lives’ strategy, which encourages employers to boost their numbers of older workers and to make sure that those in our workforce who are older are supported, whether they want to pursue a new direction or continue in their career. Challenges associated with building an older workforce include issues people face such as redundancy, health problems and caring responsibilities that force them to leave the workforce before retirement age.

We have created a free Skills, Productivity and the Ageing Workforce Toolkit that helps businesses remove the barriers that prevent older people from staying in the workplace. Developed in partnership with the Education Development Trust, the toolkit includes a host of resources including data on the 50+ workforce in the North East, podcasts, case studies and information on support schemes. You can access the toolkit here

The North East Skills Advisory Panel published the Local Skills Report in March 2021.  You can view the Local Skills Report here.

Meet the Skills Advisory Panel Board Members:
Ellen Thinnesen Ellen Thinnesen
Board member
Emma Banks Emma Banks
Head of Ramarketing
Sir David Bell KCB Sir David Bell KCB
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland
Carol Botten Carol Botten
Chief Executive of VONNE
Reshma Begum Reshma Begum
Skills Advisory Panel member
Sandra Brydon Sandra Brydon
Operations and Partnerships Manager for the Department for Work and Pensions
Paul Butler Paul Butler
CEO of North East Automotive Alliance
Niamh Corcoran Niamh Corcoran
Skills Advisory Panel Member
Beth Farhat Beth Farhat
Regional Secretary of the Northern TUC
Sarah Glendinning Sarah Glendinning
Regional Director of CBI
Sam Harrison Sam Harrison
Rep for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Sector

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Ground-breaking Careers Pilot Hailed a Success

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