Inspiring and Empowering People Inspiring and Empowering Others
Thursday 27th September marked the day of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (LEP) ‘Inspired People’ Skills event. Representatives from skills organisations across the region packed the room at The Hilton hotel to review and celebrate the skills interventions and investments made across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding this year and the invaluable outcomes this has had for the people and communities they support.
David Kerfoot, Chair of the Enterprise Partnership, kicked off the day with a powerful welcome speech. He outlined the importance of the work the LEP does across the region and celebrated those who drive it. He said “Getting the right skills in the right places is so important to the people and places we serve. Skills drive productivity. It is vital that we as a LEP help people achieve their goals; there is a lot of good that comes from giving somebody a chance.”
Annabel Jelley, Head of Skills team at the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, outlined the numbers detailing how people are benefitting from the £30+ million of European Social Fund investment at the LEP has made across the region. Through 87 different skills projects, 7500+ people were supported, 1200+ businesses were supported, 2412 people progressed into jobs and learning and 5000+ qualifications were achieved across the region. Looking into the future is also a major strategic thread for the skills agenda, improving careers advice in schools by launching the careers guidance toolkit and winning a national bid for one of 20 Careers Hubs to be hosted in our region. Alongside this there was investment in support for learning facilities to address current labour market requirements and the removal of barriers to employment for those furthest from the job market, to name a few of the instrumental impacts the LEP and its partners have contributed to across the region.
Delegates heard from a number of inspiring speakers whose organisations and customers have reaped the benefits of direct funding, or partnership working delivered by the YNYER LEP. Some of the highlights of the day included Sam Alexander, CEO of Your Consortium and LEP Board Member and Jacob Hill, Founder of OffPloy.
Sam Alexander led an excellent and interesting talk about Action Towards Inclusion, a three year £7million project managed by Your Consortium and funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund. Action Towards Inclusion supports people in North Yorkshire to achieve their goals. The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership identified the necessity for skills projects to be tailored to the locality. Action Towards Inclusion works with over 50 local organisations to deliver these projects, helping the LEP deliver wider workforce interventions and investments tailored specifically to the needs of the locality supporting those most distant from work, training or education, whilst also combatting social exclusion barriers such as poverty, financial issues, mental health issues and more.
Jacob Hill held the room with not only an honest and humbling personal account of his conviction and the 28 months he spent in prison, but also about his motivation to turn his life around and his passion for supporting ex-offenders on the outside. Upon his release, Jacob started his own company, OffPloy, which works to support businesses in taking on ex-offenders. He stressed that re-offending is reduced by 20-40% when ex-offenders are in employment. Jacob not only combatted stereotypes of what an ex-offender is, but also highlighted the importance of giving people like him a second chance, something with resonates very well with the LEP’s ambition to support those with additional barriers to accessing work and the focus of our upcoming ESF Projects to support businesses with widening their workforce practices. OffPloy is a shining example of an organisation who are trying to turn around the way businesses look at employing ex-offenders and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership will continue to support the recruitment of people with criminal convictions in future strategy.
Hannah Beever highlighted the YNYER LEP’s understanding of the skills employers across the region needs and the projects which are responding to those needs. Jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) are set to grow at double the rate of other occupations between now and 2023 and the LEP are focused on inspiring the future workforce to progress into STEM jobs and to fund programmes which strive to break down barriers in order to allow women in STEM, who are currently heavily underrepresented, to progress in their careers. NYBEP and WISE, two of the organisations delivering projects, demonstrated the impact of engaging female STEM Ambassadors to inspire students in schools. They also showcased the importance of developing lesson resources for teachers which link the national STEM agenda to opportunities in our local area and inspire students about companies on their doorstep which offer amazing career progression in STEM roles.
Thought provoking input from one of YNYER LEP’s Enterprise Advisors, Phillipa Bogle, who works with schools to address careers advice, and from Deputy Head at Millthorpe School, Tim Gillbanks, demonstrated the importance of careers education in linking schools to local employers. The LEP celebrated a number of their projects which are delivering on their priority of ensuring young people understand all the career options and local job opportunities available to them. These projects include the Careers Enterprise Company, delivered in partnership with NYBEP and the LEP, and a project by Prospects which is supporting schools to achieve a quality award in good careers guidance. Over 40,000 students have benefited from these investments. Louise Lunn, from the LEP, also announced that the successful work done so far is only set to increase with the launch of a York & North Yorkshire Careers Hub which will support schools with more intensive support and sharing of good practice.
The event clearly demonstrated the YNYER LEP’s commitment to supporting employers and individuals with their skills needs. It was encouraging to hear that through their Skills Support for the Workforce programme, managed by Calderdale College, YNYER LEP is uniquely placed, amongst LEP’s nationally, in securing capacity to invest in and deliver research and development projects with a clear focus on supporting employers and responding to their future skills needs. Philipa described Outward Academy in Ripon, a school she works closely with, as ‘striding forward magnificently,’ a phrase that can be applied to the skills team and their work in the region over the last few years. With 4 years of strategic investment behind them, the LEP skills team’s work is coming to fruition. The opportunity is for young people and those experiencing social exclusion to look towards a future that offers fulfilling careers, social inclusion, good growth and economic prosperity for everyone.