A major education, employment and skills strategy has been launched by Tees Valley Combined Authority outlining the key issues, priorities and opportunities to fill the 133,000 jobs that will be available in the region by 2024.
Titled Inspiring Our Future, the strategy is the first to offer a joined-up approach between education, employment and skills agendas to help retain, develop and recruit the talent Tees Valley requires for future economic growth.
The strategy will assist businesses to identify and address current and future skills gaps in industry alongside creating new paths to work.
Working with key partners and businesses, Inspiring Our Future will focus on supporting innovation and collaboration in education, transforming careers and enterprise education, develop a skills system for business growth, address long-term unemployment and enhance the role of higher education in driving economic growth.
At the event, the strategy was welcomed by Jobcentre Plus and representatives from the community and voluntary sector, who saw it as an opportunity to build on existing collaboration. Colleges and learning institutions also praised its linkage of education to business, which they see as key to achieving economic success in the region.
The strategy is as a result of Tees Valley’s Devolution Deal with Government, which gives the region greater control over local decision-making powers and funding.
The Combined Authority has identified more than £100million of investment for the period from 2017 to 2021 in employment, education and skills which the strategy will help deliver.
The launch follows a six-week consultation period that ended in January, during which the public and businesses were given the opportunity to have their say on the plans.
Paul Booth, chair of the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This strategy has the potential to transform how we do business in Tees Valley. By helping companies spot the workers they need, and find ways of filling those gaps, we can strengthen local industry for years to come.
“This plan will inspire young people and help adults and the long-term unemployed back to work in a way which benefits us all. I’d encourage our firms to see what they can do to help deliver this strategy and what this programme can do for them.”
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen added: “This isn’t just another bland vision or toothless strategy.
“We have over £100m to invest in education and skills across the Tees Valley up until 2021. With this money devolved to us from central government, we are going above and beyond to equip our young people with the skills they need to flourish, and provide businesses with the expertise they need to grow.”
To view the Education, Employment and Skills Strategy, Inspiring Our Future, visit teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/SkillsStrategy