West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin announces £9.5m plan to help people back into work

Following her recent re-election as the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin has announced a £9.5m plan to help people get the skills needed to secure well-paid work.

Ms Brabin said the new funding package would aim to “make life easier for those who find it the hardest”.

The funding aims to help those struggling to secure good jobs because of their age, health condition, disability, or difficult personal circumstances.

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It follows an election pledge to build a “region of learning and creativity” for all, where everyone in the region is spurred on to follow their passions in life, and lifted up to reach their full potential.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire.Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire.

Ms Brabin, said: “There are too many people at a disadvantage when it comes to finding and keeping work, so I’m delighted to get these new initiatives off the ground as part of our focus on a region of learning.

“I want everyone in West Yorkshire to have the skills and opportunities they need to succeed, regardless of their personal circumstances.

“Providing tailored support for people to smash down the barriers they face will help us to grow our economy and build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

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Those set to benefit from six new projects include single parents, people with low digital skills, people who have faced discrimination because of their ethnicity, and people with criminal convictions.

Part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the six new initiatives aim to reduce inequalities, raise living standards, and grow the economy, while boosting confidence, skills and knowledge throughout the communities of West Yorkshire.

The first project is a pilot between Bradford Council, and local community and outpatient health services.

It will support stroke patients and allow people with long COVID to receive extra rehabilitation to help them return to work. The businesses they work for will also receive tailored support to better accommodate their return to the workplace.

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Another initiative, titled Stepping Stones, will provide free access to much loved “community shops” in Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield.

Those who use the shops will be able to buy discounted food and groceries, as well as access grants to pay for expenses like travel and childcare, while they undertake a supportive programme designed to help them humanely back into work.

Grant funding will also be made available for voluntary and community organisations, in order to tap into their extensive local knowledge and relationships with vulnerable people.

This initiative aims to “ensure support gets to those who need it the most”.

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Two projects are also being launched by The Education Development Trust: Future Forward, designed to support 16–24-year-olds into employment or further education, and a ‘Work and Health Programme’ aiming to break down the health barriers to employment.

In addition, Kirklees Council has launched a project which aims to help people facing health-related barriers into employment, with specialised training set to be provided to frontline staff.

Ms Brabin was re-elected as Mayor of West Yorkshire earlier this month.

She was re-elected with 275,430 votes, a wide majority over her closest competitor, Conservative candidate Arnold Craven, who won 82,757 votes.

Andrew Cooper, of the Green party, took 66,648 votes, while Stewart Golton took 27,501 votes for the Lib Dems.

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