Business leaders have launched a new campaign urging peers to increase investment in skills and help boost employment in Leeds and the surrounding region.
The city region of 11 local authorities is blighted by a higher than average level of unemployment with 8.8 per cent, versus 7.9 per cent in the rest of the UK.
The local enterprise partnership wants company directors to take action themselves to address this worrying issue.
The 5-3-1 campaign wants businesses to invest more in skills, enhance links with education, offer work placements to unemployed people, offer apprenticeships and mentor budding entrepreneurs.
Campaign backers say it will help individuals reach their potential, benefit business and expand the wider economy.
The local enterprise partnership launched the campaign yesterday in Leeds and within 10 minutes had 20 businesses signed up, said board member Gary Lumby MBE.
He told the Yorkshire Post: “Government is concentrating on cutting back public expenditure. Therefore we can’t rely on Government to create opportunities for these young people and adult learners.
“We have to do it ourselves. It’s the right thing to do. It benefits the bottom line. There is no reason why business would not do this.”
Neil McLean, chairman of the local enterprise partnership, said figures illustrate the need for businesses in the city region to invest more in people and increase productivity.
“If we increase our employment productivity by 1 per cent that will result in growing our economy by £1bn every year,” he said,
“The potential is immense and the time has come to forge ahead.”
Stephen Kennedy, another board member, added: “If we want our businesses to succeed and our economy to flourish, signing up to this campaign is an absolute must.”
Mr Lumby said the campaign’s overall objective is to sign up 1,000 businesses in the calendar year.
“Instead of focusing on the gloom and doom and what we can’t do in business and the public sector, we want to focus on what we can do.
“It’s a really important campaign for business to get behind and it’s a very simple thing to do.”
For more information, visit www.leedscityregion.gov.uk/fivethreeone