West Yorkshire mayor launches £10m skills and employment package

15 May 2024

Tracy Brabin has announced a £10m package to “make life easier for those who find it the hardest” by helping them get the skills they need to secure well-paid work.

It follows the West Yorkshire Combined Authority mayor’s high-profile election pledge to build a “region of learning and creativity” for all, where everyone in the region is spurred on to follow their passions in life, and lifted up to reach their full potential.

Those set to benefit from six new projects include single parents, people with low digital skills, people who have faced discrimination because of their ethnicity, and people with criminal convictions.

Brabin, re-elected last week, said, “There are too many people at a disadvantage when it comes to finding and keeping work, so I’m delighted to get these new initiatives off the ground as part of our focus on a region of learning. I want everyone in West Yorkshire to have the skills and opportunities they need to succeed, regardless of their personal circumstances.

“Providing tailored support for people to smash down the barriers they face will help us to grow our economy and build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

Part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the six new initiatives aim to reduce inequalities, raise living standards, and grow the economy, while boosting confidence, skills and knowledge throughout the communities of West Yorkshire.

The projects include an innovative pilot between Bradford Council, and local community and outpatient health services, supporting stroke patients receive extra rehabilitation for people with long COVID to help them return to work, while the businesses they work for will receive tailored support to better accommodate their return to the workplace.

Stepping Stones will provide free access to community shops in Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield. Once there, people will be able to buy discounted food and groceries, as well as access grants to pay for expenses like travel and childcare, while they undertake a supportive programme designed to help them humanely back into work.

Grant funding will be available for voluntary and community organisations, in order to tap into their extensive local knowledge and relationships with vulnerable people, to ensure the support gets to those who need it the most.

Two projects are being launched by The Education Development Trust: Future Forward, designed to support 16–24-year-olds into employment or further education, and a ‘Work and Health Programme’ aiming to break down the health barriers to employment.

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