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In conversation with Neil Willis, Regional Lead, Education Challenge at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership

In conversation with Neil Willis, Regional Lead, Education Challenge at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, reflecting on the impact Opportunity North East has had so far, and looking forward to its next phase.

For the past year, we (the North East Local Enterprise Partnership) have been working with colleagues from Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) to develop a joint approach to support a strand of The Department for Education’s pioneering Opportunity North East (ONE) programme.

Designed to ensure all pupils have the same opportunities to learn, develop and achieve success, regardless of their background or where they live, Opportunity North East is an absolute determination that no child should be left behind.

It’s fantastic to see to see The Department for Education has unveiled its delivery plan for the next phase of Opportunity North East (ONE), which includes a £24 million investment to tackle the challenges facing some of our region’s lowest-performing schools.

This significant investment will mean we can continue to work in partnership with Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) to ensure a consistent approach and maximum impact for young people across our region.

Since the programme began, we’ve worked with 28 ONE Vision schools to help identify the complex challenges and barriers that can hinder pupils’ success. This next phase will build on our work to date so we can provide even more support to all 28 schools.

Looking forward to the next phase

The latest Opportunity North East Delivery Plan sets out five main challenges that exist across the region. Our area of focus will be to lead work around Challenge 4, supporting our young people to find pathways to a good career.

Currently, the North East is the region with the lowest percentage of young people in a sustained education, employment or training destination after key stage 4 and key stage 5. That’s something we need to change.

To help us do that, we’ve worked with all 28 ONE Vision schools to understand how we can help make a difference to young people when it comes to securing employment, apprenticeships or moving to further education. Thanks to the feedback we’ve received, we plan to deliver an enhanced offer of careers and business engagement support for these ONE Vision schools, including plans for monitoring impact. Pupils will benefit from a programme of support that really makes a difference to their lives.

We’ll be working with partners including the Department for Education, our universities and local employers, as well as with our colleagues in Tees Valley, to collectively and intensively support up to 30 young people from each school into sustained education, employment or training.

Pupils will be supported from Year 9 right through to the end of Year 11. They’ll get access to high quality destinations guidance, personalised interventions and one to one guidance to support them in their next steps, including the opportunities available to them.

Our target is that by 2022, all ONE Vision schools will have achieved all eight Good Career Guidance Benchmarks and we’ll see an increased percentage of young people from those schools in a sustained education, employment or training destination after key stage 4 and key stage 5.

This, of course, is in addition to work we’re already doing through North East Ambition; supporting every school and college in the North East to achieve the eight Good Career Guidance Benchmarks, as well as through our Education Challenge and Ford Next Generation Learning Programmes – supporting teachers, school leaders and governors to integrate an understanding of the world of work and career opportunities into the curriculum.

We want each and every young person in our region to have the best possible start to their working life, and we are determined that no pupil will be left behind.

We can’t wait to get started on the next phase of this incredibly important work.

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In conversation with Matt Joyce, Regional Lead for North East Ambition, about the importance of connecting careers guidance to employment opportunities.

A report published this week (22 January 2020) by the Education and Employers charity, highlights concerns around a gap between the career aspirations of young people in the UK and the reality of the labour market.

It calls for more to be done to address an ‘aspiration-reality disconnect’ in the UK – where the ambitions of our young people don’t match the jobs that are out there.

Recommendations include more support for careers guidance at secondary school level and better labour market information for young people. The report also calls for a significant expansion of career-related learning at primary level.

Here in the North East, we’re already working with partners to achieve all these aims – and have been for some time.

We recently expanded our work to primary level, working with the EY Foundation on a pilot to explore what good career guidance looks like across all phases of primary education, including how schools can connect with local employers to offer primary pupils a range of age-appropriate, meaningful encounters with the world of work. We want to support children to be ambitious from the earliest possible age and start challenging any limiting beliefs they have about themselves, based on their gender or socio-economic background.

The primary pilot is just one strand of our North East Ambition programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and led by the North East LEP working with partners. Through North East Ambition, we’re also actively supporting all the region’s secondary schools and colleges to meet the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks – placing a strong emphasis on engagement with employers, experiences of the workplace and linking learning to labour market information and the region’s employment sectors.

North East Ambition is integral to our work around skills development and the delivery of our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the North East. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that our young people leave education or training with the skills, qualifications and personal qualities that employers look for. To achieve that, we need real involvement from employers in our schools and colleges, so they can help to shape a future talent pipeline.

If we want to support our young people to understand the realities of the workplace, the expectations of employers and the opportunities open to them, it’s vital that we connect education and employment at every opportunity.

Matt Joyce, Regional Lead, North East Ambition.

Watch now – Meaningful encounters: Year 6 pupils from Bexhill Primary Academy, Sunderland visit advanced manufacturing employer Unipres to discover more about the world of work.

Watch now – Learning from LMI: Year 9 students from Norham High School explore four key regional employment sectors, the roles within them and the skills and qualifications you might need.

You can find out more about what we’re achieving through North East Ambition by visiting northeastambition.co.uk

North East Ambition is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).

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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist, Victoria Sutherland, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics.

“Today’s statistics show that the number of people in employment in the North East region – which includes both the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas – has increased by 6,000 over the last three months.

“Combined with statistics released last month that showed between March and June, the North East was the region in the UK with the largest increase in filled jobs, this suggests the regional labour market has begun to strengthen after a period of declining employment earlier in the year.

“Whilst the number of people in employment has increased, the number participating in the labour market has grown even faster. As a result, unemployment has also increased with 3,000 more people unemployed than last quarter.

“As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, there remains significant uncertainty in the economy.

“The North East LEP will continue to work with partners in the region, as well as Government, to create more and better jobs for our region and to support residents to access good quality employment opportunities.”

For the latest information and guidance on how businesses can prepare for Brexit, visit the North East Growth Hub’s free Brexit Toolkit.

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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics July 2019

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“Today’s figures show a broadly stable picture. The number of people in employment in the North East region, including Tees Valley, is 4,000 higher than in the last quarter – this is a small increase but one that we welcome, especially given recent volatility here and elsewhere.

“Compared with the same period last year, again we see a small increase, with 2,000 more people in employment.

“In terms of unemployment and economic inactivity, levels of unemployment have remained steady compared with the last quarter. Economic inactivity, which is measured as people aged 16 to 64 who are not in work and are not looking for work, has remained broadly stable over both the last quarter and the last year.

“Across the rest of the North we can see that there have been large decreases in the number of people in employment during the last quarter. This illustrates the uncertainty within the economy.

“Also released today is data showing employment trends for the North East LEP area only. Creating 100,000 more and better jobs in the North East LEP area by 2024 is a key target of the North East Strategic Economic Plan. Today’s figures show that, since 2014, 74,900 jobs have been added to the North East economy – meaning that we are 75% of the way towards achieving our target.

“The team here at the North East LEP will continue to work with our partners to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan and its ambition of more and better jobs for people here in our region.”

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North East LEP ONS Labour Market Statistics reaction June 2019

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“It’s very disappointing to see that today’s statistics show that the number of people across the North East in employment has fallen over both the last quarter and the year. In total, there are 26,000 fewer people in work than a year ago, with the majority of those no longer in employment being women.

“There has been a particularly sharp decrease in the last three months, with 20,000 fewer people in work. We are one of five English regions that have seen a decline in employment over the last quarter.

“Both unemployment and economic inactivity have increased. There are 13,000 more people unemployed – those who are out of work and looking for a job – than a year ago, with a significant part of this increase (7,000) happening in the last three months. The unemployment rate is now 5.7%, compared to 4.6% a year ago.

“Adults that are not in work or looking for work – for example, because they are studying, looking after children or the home, unable to work due to health or disability or have retired – are referred to in the statistics as the economically inactive. The numbers of adults in the North East that are economically inactive has increased by 16,000 over the year.

“Whilst it is unclear what is underpinning these negative trends, there is significant uncertainty within the economy which is depressing investment and this is likely to be a key factor. It is critically important for the North East economy that the UK government seeks to resolve this uncertainty.

“The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to deliver more and better jobs for the region. We are also delivering a significant programme of work to help prepare the region for Brexit-related changes.”

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North East LEP ONS Regional Labour Market Statistics

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“We are disappointed to see that today’s labour market statistics show that employment has fallen across the North East region, including Tees Valley.

“Employment has declined by 5,000 over the last quarter and 26,000 over the year.

“In addition, whilst unemployment has remained stable over the last quarter, it has increased by 7,000 over the last year.

“There has also been a rise in those that are outside the labour market, for example, because they are studying, looking after children or due to ill health.

“These trends are particularly disappointing given that the region had made significant progress in last few years.

“The number of men in employment has increased slightly over both the quarter and year, meaning the decline in employment reflects a fall in the number of women in work. In total, 23,000 women have left the labour market in the North East the last 12 months. Going forward, it will be important to understand what is driving these trends.

“The North East LEP will continue to work with partners across the region to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan and its goal to deliver 100,000 more jobs by 2024 and to ensure the provision is in place to help residents progress towards, and into, available employment opportunities.”

 

ENDS.

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North East LEP ONS Labour Market Statistics Reaction – March 2019

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“We are pleased to see today’s statistics have positive news for the North East.

“Across the region, employment has increased by 7,000 over the quarter. Unemployment has fallen by 4,000 over the same period. This decline means the unemployment rate is now 5.1%, compared to 5.4% three months ago.

“Today’s statistics are particularly welcome as they suggest that the increases in unemployment and decreases in employment we saw in mid-2018 are being reversed.

“Whilst these are positive results, there continues to be significant uncertainty in the economy making planning for the future challenging for businesses.”

The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to support businesses to grow and deliver more and better jobs for the region.

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North East LEP ONS Labour Market Statistics reaction

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist, Victoria Sutherland, gave her reaction to today’s regional labour market statistics.

“4,000 more people in the North East are in employment than three months ago. This is a positive result for the region and recent increases in employment have largely offset the declines we saw in early 2018.

“Looking at the data in more detail, there has been particularly strong growth in employment amongst younger age groups.

“Disappointingly, today’s labour market statistics also show unemployment has increased by 6,000 over the quarter, and by 2,000 over the year. A number of other regions have seen a similar increase.

“With both employment and unemployment increasing over the quarter, there are fewer people economically inactive; a broad group that includes those who are outside the labour market because they are in education, have health issues or disabilities that prevent them from work, have caring responsibilities, or have retired. However, there has been growth in the numbers aged 50 and over that are inactive.

“As previously noted, there has been a high degree of fluctuation in the North East’s labour market performance over the last 12 months. Considerable uncertainty in the national economy is one of the factors contributing to this fluctuation, with data showing that across the UK, there have been three consecutive quarter-on-quarter declines in business investment. It is important for the North East that we move to a period of greater certainty so that businesses are able to plan and grow.

“The North East LEP has addressed these issues through its updated Strategic Economic Plan, which was published last week (Thursday 14 February). It recognises the economic and political changes that have influenced our regional economy and how we can respond to them in a positive way to deliver more and better jobs for the North East.”

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North East LEP ONS Labour Market Statistics Reaction

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gave her reaction to this month’s regional labour market statistics.

“We welcome the increase in employment among 16 to 64 year olds in the North East during the last three months. A further 6,000 people in this age group have found employment.

“There is also data that shows that we are seeing an increase in both full time employment and self-employment whilst the numbers working part time are declining.

“However, today’s release showed that unemployment has increased, with 14,000 more people now actively seeking work.

“These mixed results reflect the fluctuations we have seen in the North East’s labour market performance during the last 12 months.

“The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to achieve more and better jobs for the region. Our updated Strategic Economic Plan, setting out how we will work together to create 100,000 more jobs for the region between 2014 and 2024, with at least 70% of these being in managerial, professional and technical roles, will be launched on 14 February 2019.

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