Reading (and Thames Valley Berkshire) is a thriving town/area largely down to the enterprise and ambition of the local and international businesses which are based here. Unemployment rates are lower than in most of the rest of the country, but there is still a substantial number of young people who are unemployed and not in training. Led by Reading Borough Council, Thames Valley Berkshire was successful in a bid for a City Deal, which enables funding which the Government had already earmarked for the area to be redirected to respond to more local needs. At the heart of the City Deal bid is the establishment of an Employment and Skills hub connecting young people 16-24 and employers.
The aim of the hub is to: • Provide a service to employers who want to employ young, talented people to contribute to the prosperity of their business and support local young people. • Reduce the number of young people who are unemployed in the area, or who drop in and out of employment. • Raise the aspirations of local young people to aspire to and seize the excellent employment opportunities available in the area.
The City Deal will be a success if in the future employers say that local young people are better prepared for work and make a quicker contribution to their businesses; more employers are engaged with young people; fewer young people are unemployed.
We are asking employers right across the area for their views to ensure we create a service which responds to their needs as well as those of young people. This is a real opportunity to raise the aspirations of our local young people and contribute to the future prosperity of the local economy and we would appreciate your help.
Lesley Donoghue Principal, Reading College Chair of Reading Employment Skills Group