City employers have been asked to pledge their support to new City of Wolverhampton initiative - 'Wolves@Work' - to improve city employment rates.

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The 3 year programme, co-ordinated by City of Wolverhampton Council, in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), was officially launched at Wolverhampton Racecourse yesterday (Wednesday 25 January).

It is based on successful schemes delivered in other parts of the country, and is aiming to get 3,000 people into sustained employment, including at least 1,000 young people.

Up to 30 work coaches will be taken on to work with employers and help people into work, so that young people not only have a better chance of getting a job, but also go on to thrive within the workplace.

A pool of 'City Work' mentors will also support young people alongside the work coaches.

At the Racecourse event around 30 employers were asked to commit to the programme through the 'Wolverhampton Work Pledge Card', which sets out a commitment to work experience for 18-year-olds out of work, apprenticeships, vacancies, business mentors and round-table discussions, as outlined in the Wolves@Work pledge.

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said: City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said: "This is an important development originating from the Skills and Employment Commission I set up.

"Although we are gradually seeing unemployment levels fall, it is not happening quick enough, and I want people to benefit from the jobs and growth being generated by the £3.7 billion of investment on site or in the pipeline in Wolverhampton.

"The council is therefore making a major investment into this programme to boost employment opportunities for 3,000 local people, including 1,000 youngsters."

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, added: "The city is now much improved in terms of education attainment at GCSE level - but this is not translating into low levels of youth unemployment.

"Employers in the city have reported growth in their workforce and do welcome local recruitment in to these positions. 

"At present the lack of relevant skills and poor in-work experience are preventing many residents from securing employment.

"Through this programme we will be asking employers to work alongside the council and DWP to shape current and future employment and skills provision. 

"This will assist local people to have the right skills and improve their employability, in line with the current and future needs of businesses in the city."

To date 16 employer pledges have been confirmed from the likes of the NHS, Carillion, JLR, Sevacare, WV Living and Premier Inn.

Work Services Director for DWP, Pat Davies, said: "This is a great opportunity for Wolverhampton businesses, the City of Wolverhampton Council and the Department for Work and Pensions to work together for the increased benefit of local businesses and local people."

David Danger, Chair of Employment and Skills Group, and Managing Director of UTC Marston Aerospace, added: "Speaking as a key business in the city, I know of the challenge it can be to find the right people for the company.

"Our business wants to be able to offer opportunities to local people of Wolverhampton, to help secure work.

"Wolves@Work will, I believe, provide a much needed link and support between employers in this city and its residents."

The Wolverhampton Skills and Employment Action Plan is overseen by a board made up of representation from local employers, schools, further education, higher education, the voluntary sector, council, Jobcentre Plus and DWP.

Included in the plan is The City Work Place - focused on fully integrating workforce recruitment and development into the city's business support offer delivered through the Growth Hub; The City Workbox - focused on creating a fully functioning, interactive website which will act as a 'front door' to provide local people, businesses and providers with improved access to information, advice on skills and employment; and The Learning City - focused on the development and delivery of the City Centre Learning Quarter.

Other organisations in Wolverhampton, helping to tackle youth unemployment are Connexions and the Youth Offending Team (YOT).

The council has also worked with local partners to secure substantial amounts of external funding through the European Social Fund (ESF)/Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) Black Country IMPACT project, Headstart, and Individual Placement Support (IPS).

Tailored support is being provided through Talent Match Black Country, supported internships, Wolverhampton Business Champions, and the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC).

  • released: Thursday 26 January, 2017