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North East LEP Regional Labour Market Statistics reaction

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

“We are pleased that today’s data shows that employment continues to rise in the North East.

“The number of people in the North East in work has increased 2,000 over the quarter and 27,000 over the year.

“There has been particularly strong growth in employment in professional, scientific and technical activities (such as law, accountancy and architecture); accommodation and food services (such as hotels, restaurants and bars); agriculture, forestry and fishing; and arts, entertainment and recreation.

“The increase in employment opportunities has resulted in the number of people that are unemployed falling. The unemployment rate for 16 to 64 year olds is now 5.0%, compared to 6.7% a year ago and 8.0% two years ago.

“The North East has experienced the largest decrease in its unemployment rate of all English regions over the last year. It was also the region with the largest increase in its employment rate.

“Whilst our progress is great news, there is still more to be done. The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan’s ambition of more and better jobs for the region.”

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Representing the North East at National Careers Week

As National Careers Week Ambassador for the North East of England, I’ve been delighted to be able to take a proactive role in encouraging employer engagement across the region and promote the benchmarks within the Good Career Guidance Report, which identifies what ‘good’ careers guidance looks like.

Networking across the North East is key to careers guidance success and the generation of meaningful encounters. Experiences of the workplace, between employers and young people is critical in achieving the benchmarks. My role involves liaising with the national ambassador team, sharing resources and case studies to encourage and promote these meaningful experiences.

As an Enterprise Adviser for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, I strongly support the delivery of its North East Ambition programme, which promotes skills across the region to improve the economy of the North East. Good careers guidance and the access to employment that is right for the individual, is a critical part of this drive around skills.

During National Careers Week (5-10March), I attended a series of events, actively promoting the fantastic work that is being delivered across the North East on careers guidance benchmarking and best practice working with employers.

I have been working particularly closely with Sue Taylor, the careers lead at Heaton Manor School in Newcastle upon Tyne. The school has been making great strides to achieve the benchmarks. Sue and the team have identified where the gaps are, and they are taking an innovative approach to making real connections between employers and young people.

To give the students access and exposure to a range of businesses, Heaton Manor School held a series of lunchtime talks for the duration of National Careers Week and beyond for a further week.

Attending employers include Accenture, Tarmac, Virgin Money, Digital Union, NBS, Ronald James, Baltic Training and Equiwatt, a green energy start-up company.

What an amazing opportunity for that group of Year 9’s to get first-hand information from a diverse range of employers, including small business, corporates, membership organisations and self-employed business people – all willing to talk to these students and create just the right conditions for excellent careers guidance.

This is just one example of how the North East is generating engagement between schools and employers and there is a real understanding of the benefits of developing these meaningful encounters with young people.

I am looking for more schools and business leaders across the North East that are making great strides in careers advice, generating real connections and headway in achieving the benchmarks, to use as positive case studies for our region and showcase them on a national platform.

Please communicate your successes on social media, using the hashtag #NorthEastAmbition when you tweet and tag us @northeastlep

Let’s shout about our careers guidance successes across the North East and on the national stage.

I welcome contact from schools, colleges and business leaders that would like to discuss future opportunities to network and create meaningful careers guidance opportunities.

Catherine Boland is currently HR Director at Printed.com until she moves to her new role as Business and Community Engagement Lead with Baltic Training at the end of April. Catherine is National Careers Week Ambassador for the North East of England.

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North East LEP ONS Regional Labour Market Statistics reaction

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

“Today’s statistics for the North East are mixed. We are disappointed to see that employment has fallen by 15,000 over the quarter. However, employment growth has been strong over the year as a whole with 25,000 more in work than a year ago and the North East having experienced the largest improvement in its employment rate of any region in the UK.

“Unemployment has declined over both the quarter and the year, with 21,000 fewer individuals’ unemployed than a year ago. We are particularly pleased to see that the North East’s unemployment rate has continued to decline over the last quarter given that it has increased across the UK.

“The decline in employment and unemployment in the North East over the last quarter has been offset by an increase in economic inactivity. Individuals can be economically inactive for a wide range of reasons including that they are in education, have health issues or disabilities that prevent them from work, have caring responsibilities or have retired.

“The number of working age people (16-64) that are economically inactive has increased by 15,000 over the quarter, although it has decreased by 8,000 over the year.

“The North East LEP will continue to work with its partners to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan’s ambition of more and better jobs and to help local residents to connect with available employment opportunities.”

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Education Challenge Project Manager appointed

A project manager has been appointed to support the delivery of a ground-breaking education programme.

Neil Willis will lead the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Education Challenge.

The role will see Neil spearhead the Next Generation Learning project, which aims to reduce the gap between the region’s best and lowest performing secondary schools and improve social mobility in our young people.

Neil brings extensive experience to the role, having spent 16 years as a science teacher and in senior leadership in secondary schools in the North East.

In 2016, he began working across schools as an Education Consultant, developing projects including STEM-specific provision through the National STEM Centre, teacher training and CPD, faculty improvement and school improvement.

Over the past two years, Neil has been involved in North East Futures University Technical College (UTC), which saw him build a significant amount of partnerships with regional industry to enrich the curriculum and bring industry into the classroom.

Newcastle University graduate Neil said: “I am very excited to play a part in shaping the education landscape and driving change through the LEP’s Education Challenge.

“Building on the success of Gatsby Foundation’s Career Benchmarks, the Education Challenge will support teachers, schools, governors and leaders to integrate careers learning into the curriculum to ensure those entering the workforce in the future have the skill level to support our diverse economy and are fully aware of the progression routes available to make this happen.”

The appointment comes after the North East LEP area was selected by Ford Next Generation Learning and The Edge Foundation as the first area internationally to translate elements of the successful ‘Academies of Nashville’ model to the UK.

The Academies of Nashville model transformed attendance, attainment and progression by placing employers and business partners alongside teachers and school leaders to develop highly personalised approaches to progression.

The Next Generation Learning project aims to replicate this success.

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East LEP, said: “The North East is leading the way when it comes to implementing outstanding careers provision within education.

“Neil brings with him vast skills and experience, which will be a great asset to furthering the aims of the Education Challenge. We are delighted to welcome him to the team.”

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North East LEP ONS Regional Labour Market Statistics Reaction

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 that employment continues to grow across the North East region. Today’s data shows the number of people in employment has grown by 34,000 over the last year, with 11,000 more people in work over the quarter.

“Once a quarter we get more detailed statistics than in other months and today is one of those occasions. These additional data show that there has been growth in service sector jobs of 24,000 over the year. Within that, we are particularly pleased to see growth in the information and communications sector, which includes many of the region’s digital companies, and growth in professional, scientific and technical activities.

“We are also pleased to see that the manufacturing sector, which has always played a critical role in the North East economy, has grown, with 8,000 more jobs over the year.

“We are continuing to see unemployment decline. Our unemployment rate is now 5.2%, compared to 6.8% last year. This is the largest decline in the unemployment rate of all English regions over the year.

“The number of people unemployed is down 7,000 over the quarter and 20,000 over the year.

“There has been growth in both full and part-time workers and across both employee jobs and self-employment. This is different to the national picture, where self-employment has fallen. We have seen a decline in the number of workers with second jobs and the number of people in temporary jobs. Combined, these suggest that demand for labour is growing.

“The North East LEP will continue to work with partners to ensure individuals have the skills to take up the opportunities being created by the North East’s employers.”


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Our Plan for Higher Education – Diverse, Employment-focused, Value for Money

New independent report points the way forward for Higher Education

We welcome the publication of the Edge Foundation’s Plan for Higher Education which sets out how greater diversity of provision, more employer engagement and a keen focus on value for money can ensure that HE helps to close the skills gap.

Here, Olly Newton, Director of Policy and Research at The Edge Foundation sets out his thoughts on Higher Education Diversification

New polling data commissioned by Edge for the report raises some significant questions about perceptions of value for money amongst graduates. The percentage who felt they received good value for money for their degree has fallen steadily from 93% of those who graduated before 1980 to just 58% amongst recent graduates. Meanwhile, the majority of graduates from the last five decades (52%) would choose not to go to university in the current funding regime.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The report highlights some amazing programmes here and abroad that are helping to ensure excellent employment outcomes for students. This includes a diversification of provision to include accelerated, part-time and sandwich courses and a reinvigoration of L4 and L5 qualifications to give us the technicians we need to power industry in the North East. It also includes high quality careers services and employer engagement, which many of the universities in our region pride themselves on.

The report also points to two ambitious international models to provide inspiration for the future. DHBW in Stuttgart is a University entirely made up of degree apprentices studying whilst employed with leading firms and their supply chains. The Minerva Schools based in California is an international university with no campus that achieves excellent results at a fraction of the cost of traditional tuition through innovative online seminars.

We are blessed in the North East with fantastic Higher Education partners and we are keen to learn from the best models nationally and internationally to help them continue to be a powerhouse for skills and growth in the region.

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North East LEP ONS Regional Labour Market statistics reaction

North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Senior Economist Victoria Sutherland gives her reaction to today’s Regional Labour Market statistics.

“Today’s statistics are positive for the North East.

“Employment in the region has increased by 17,000 over the past quarter and by 28,000 over the year. And while unemployment levels have remained steady over the quarter, they have reduced over the year, with 7,000 fewer people unemployed than a year ago.

“Over the last quarter and year, the North East has seen the greatest improvement in the proportion of its population aged 16 to 64 that are in employment of all the regions and nations in the UK. The region has also seen the largest increase in its economic activity rate, suggesting that increasing employment opportunities in the North East are bringing more people into the labour market.

“These improvements also mean the gap is closing between the North East and elsewhere, a key objective of the North East Strategic Economic Plan.

“The increase of 28,000 more people in work reflects the hard work and ambition of businesses in the region.

“However, whilst the region has made significant progress, levels of unemployment in the North East are still among the highest of the UK regions.

“The North East Strategic Economic Plan sets out a range of actions that aim to deliver more and better jobs for the region and to support residents to access these. Given that we are entering a period of economic uncertainty, the North East LEP will continue to work with partners to help businesses scale and to create more and better jobs.”



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North East LEP welcomes Careers Strategy and celebrates Gatsby Career Benchmarks success

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has today welcomed the news that the Government’s new Careers Strategy will centre around the eight Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks piloted here in the North East.

In September 2015, sixteen schools and colleges within the North East LEP area became the first in the UK to test the benchmarks, designed to equip the next generation with the skills needed by employers.

Within a year the North East LEP’s groundbreaking work in rolling out this pilot had attracted national acclaim.

Andrew Hodgson, chair of the North East LEP, said: “Good career guidance is crucial for social mobility.  We are delighted to see the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks front and centre of the Government’s national careers strategy.

“After piloting this approach in the North East over the past two years, and with over 100 schools now working to achieve the Benchmarks, we are seeing the hugely positive impact they can make to each and every pupil in schools and colleges.”

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director for the North East LEP said: “I’d like to thank Gatsby for trusting in us to deliver the pilot and for recognising the North East LEP’s ability to influence national education policy.

“I’d also like to thank those schools and colleges who were initially involved through the pilot and to those who have since shown their support by signing up. The scale of the project has been critical in demonstrating the transformative power of the eight Gatsby benchmarks.

“Finally it’s important to recognise the team at the North East LEP who have worked tirelessly to roll out this initiative. Through our collaborative approach we have been able to demonstrate the resounding success of the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks on a national level and showcase the excellent practice taking place here in the region.”

The Careers Strategy is backed by £4m of funding and includes a dedicated careers leader in all schools and colleges in the country to ensure people have access to the best careers support, giving them the best possible start to their professional life.

Sir John Holman, senior advisor to the Gatsby Foundation and author of the Gatsby Career Benchmark report, said: “Good Career Guidance is the key to social mobility. For young people coming from a background of low socioeconomic aspirations, school career guidance is their best hope of charting the way to a rewarding future career.

“We now know, from our international study and from the work of career guidance experts, what makes for good career guidance: it is described by the eight Gatsby benchmarks which have been shown by the pilot in the North East of England to have such a powerful positive effect in schools and colleges.

“I am very pleased that the Department for Education has put these benchmarks at the heart of its strategy.”

The North East LEP’s national facilitator for the Career Benchmarks Pilot, Ryan Gibson, said: “Since the North East became the first UK region to pilot the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks, the approach has proved to be transformational for careers guidance in our schools and colleges.

“At the pilot’s start, no UK school was achieving more than five benchmarks and 50% of schools and colleges in this region weren’t achieving any at all. Now 88% of our schools and colleges are achieving six to eight, with every single one achieving a minimum of four – the benchmarks are a vital part of our plan to ensure that every young person in the North East can make a successful transition into their future career.”

More information on the new Careers Strategy can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/careers-guidance-for-modern-country-unveiled.

Details of the eight Gatsby Career Benchmarks can be found here: www.goodcareerguidance.org.uk

For more information about the North East LEP’s Skills programme, please visit www.nelep.co.uk.



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North East LEP ONS Regional Labour Market Statistics Reaction

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

“Today’s data is encouraging. It shows the number of people in employment in the North East has increased by 10,000 on the quarter and 25,000 on the year.  There have also been declines in unemployment, with 6,000 fewer individuals unemployed than last quarter and 8,000 fewer unemployed than this time last year.

“The improvements in the employment rate and the unemployment rate have been better in the North East than across England as a whole over the quarter and the year.

“In addition, there are only two regions (the East of England and the South East), that have had a larger improvement in their employment rate than the North East over the last quarter.

“Interestingly, over the last year, most of the growth in employment has been among women, with18,000 more women in work than a year ago. However, over the last quarter, the majority of the increase has been amongst men.

“It remains an uncertain economic environment so it is good to see employment is growing and unemployment declining. Given concerns over other economic data recently, we welcome these positive trends for the North East.

“We would like to see next week’s Budget and the Government’s Industrial Strategy bring forward plans that will support the North East to continue to grow its economy and create good quality employment opportunities for its residents.”