Council launches employability forum to help Rossendale residents

Rossendale Borough Council has held the first ever Employability and Skills Forum in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The forum brought together representatives from a wide variety of organisations to promote collaboration between the groups and the existing employability and support programmes in the valley. The group will meet every quarter to identify any gaps in the provision in order further support Rossendale residents. 

Alyson Barnes, council leader, said: “There’s no doubt that the pandemic has had a devasting effect on businesses and jobs across the borough. 

“We’ve seen a 118 percent increase in people actively looking for work between March and November last year and it’s important the council lead the way in bringing organisations and agencies together to help the residents of Rossendale.” 

The council are already delivering a range of employability support and skills for local residents. The Rossendale Works project, that works with 18-24 year olds in a dedicated youth hub base, has increased its number of officers to help deliver employment and sport related courses. On-going careers advice with local schools has progressed into a virtual careers fair for leavers. 

The council has also asked construction companies to commit and evidence local recruitment as part of tenders and planning applications, and local businesses have been given the opportunity to provide placements through the national Kick-start scheme.

Darren Wright, operations manager at Active Lancashire, said: “It’s great to see that partners are coming together in Rossendale to build on the great support available for local people who are unemployed or economically active. 

“Working in partnership with the Local Authority Economic Development Team helps partners understand the needs of local employers as we all hope to create a healthy and active workforce.” 

The forum, which had representatives from Lancashire Skills Hub, Lancashire Careers Hub, Department for Work and Pensions, Princes Trust, Active Lancashire, Newground Together, Christians Against Poverty, Burnley FC and Procure Plus, will continue to work collaboratively and encourage other organisations who are delivering employability and skills related projects in Rossendale, or any businesses that are looking to recruit or provide experience opportunities to Rossendale residents, to get in touch with the Economic Development team directly. 

Cllr Barnes added: “We want to build on this and develop our relationships with local providers to create a powerful response to improving levels of employment in Rossendale and upskilling local residents.”  

You can contact the council at economicdevelopment@rossendalebc.gov.uk or call 01706 252480 

photo:Alyson Barnes & Paul Becouarn, Employability Project Lead.picture taken preCovid