Posts Tagged 'employment'

Creating opportunities for young people in Brighton & Hove

In many ways, we are extremely fortunate in Brighton & Hove in having one of the most highly educated workforces in the country. This is great news, in particular, for our digital, new media and creative sectors, which have begun to thrive in recent years and attract many university graduates to stay on in the City. However, this success does have an unfortunate side-effect in that it makes it more difficult for non-graduates to enter the workforce, even into relatively low paid jobs.

Therefore, as a Council, it is vitally important that we do everything we can to work with schools, colleges and local businesses to ensure that those young people who choose not to go to university don’t get left behind. I strongly believe that all young people in this City should be able to access the jobs market on an equal footing.

The work of the Brighton & Hove Education Business Partnership (EBP), which is a professional body accredited by the Institute of Education Business Excellence, is a key part of our strategy to provide work-related support links for young people in the City. They have been established for 12 years now and have a fantastic track record working with schools, colleges and businesses to provide opportunities in preparing young people for the world of work.

The EBP also work with some of the City’s more vulnerable young people, such as those with Special Educational Needs or those leaving care. For example, just this week they organised an event at Hillside Special School which offered the pupils training and advice on how to manage their finances and other consumer affairs issues. This is essential for vulnerable young people in the city.

Of course a vital part of helping young people into their chosen career path is through apprenticeships. New research carried out for the Government shows that every £1 spent on providing apprenticeships brings a massive £40 return to the economy. The value is obvious, both for the individual in terms of his or her future prosperity, but also to the wider economy. Here in Brighton & Hove we recently worked with local employers to successfully complete our 100 in 100 campaign – creating 100 apprenticeships in 100 days. But we must maintain this momentum in ensuring that young people are properly prepared to join the workforce. And as a country, it is sad to say that we still lag way behind places like Germany and Finland, where apprenticeships are embedded in the education system.

Therefore, it was very disappointing that our proposals at the recent Budget Council meeting to put the EBP on a sustainable footing, and through the City Employment Skills Initiative, to establish a new local Future Apprenticeships Fund, were voted down. It is certainly a shame to have to bring politics into an issue which should generate cross-party agreement but I believe that the young people of Brighton & Hove have been badly let down. If passed, this would have been a significant investment in our future work force in the city, which in these tough economic times, could have transformed lives.

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Brighton Marina – clarification

A story which appeared in Tuesday’s Argus newspaper claimed that discussions were going on ‘behind the scenes’ between Brighton & Hove City Council and Explore Living over their proposals to redevelop part of the Marina. I would like to make it clear to residents in the area that this is categorically not the case.

As far as I am concerned, the decision back in July by the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to dismiss Explore Living’s plans is the final word on this matter. They are, of course, entitled to submit a fresh application but as yet, I am not aware that one is forthcoming.

Undoubtedly, the Marina is a very important site for future development, for providing housing and employment, and we are looking forward to working with developers who can offer a first class scheme that will work well for the area. Our aim is to make sure that the regeneration of the Marina enhances the site and is of lasting benefit to residents. This will form the basis of any future negotiations about the site.

Brighton & Hove: open for business

I was delighted with the decision of the Council’s planning committee last night to give the go-ahead for American Express’ £140 million extension to their Eastern Road site.

This is fantastic news for the local economy at a time when we are still in the middle of a deep recession. 2,000 jobs have been safeguarded by this move and the redevelopment of the site itself is likely to create more than 1,000 construction and related jobs early next year.

This is also a satisfying riposte to those who have branded us ‘anti-development’ as an Administration. Remember that this was only made possible by us agreeing to sell the company the freehold of the existing Amex House building. There is clearly still much more to be done but, coupled with ongoing work at Falmer on the Community Stadium and the new Academy school, this shows that Brighton & Hove is still very much ‘open for business’.