East Ayrshire gears up to take new lead role in employability

Training for, and finding, a job with good career prospects and ongoing support in East Ayrshire is set to get easier from April -  with major changes in funding and the way in which employability services are delivered throughout Scotland.

East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet has approved a report outlining the new strengthened roles of both  their Economic Development and Education Services in delivering “wrap around”  support for job seekers of all ages from school leavers to long term unemployed and parents looking to return to the workplace.

In the wake of Covid and in anticipation of an expected downturn in the economy, the Scottish Government has recognised the importance of local authorities and their partners in providing training, apprenticeships and guidance to people of all ages and skill levels. It has boosted funding and a given a new emphasis to the roles of Local Employability Partnerships (LEPs) as the drivers of employability provision.  

Councillor Fiona Campbell explains: “Traditionally our employability service was delivered through the integration of a number of funding streams and organisations including European, UK and Scottish Government initiatives all pulled together by our East Ayrshire Local Employability Partnership.  Administratively this meant working with lots of different funding bodies, each of which had their own time and budget constraints.  

“During Covid, and particularly with the impending loss of European funding, the Scottish Government stepped up its funding, and year on year, working with our partners in education, DWP, Ayrshire College, Skills Development Scotland and many others,  we’ve continued to engage with more than 500 people, helping them find the training and jobs they need.

“In October, in recognition of the vital role and success of LEPs in delivering initiatives such as the Young Person’s Guarantee and No One Left Behind, the Scottish Government announced a commitment to transferring governance of all its employability funding to us. It makes total sense, allowing our experts on the ground to decide what works best with local needs for local people and businesses and make best use of the available funding for maximum effect.

“One of our great strengths in East Ayrshire is our close relationship with our schools and businesses. We’re excited that so many pupils can now take advantage of foundation apprenticeships, giving them a chance to attain real work experience and skills in a chosen area before they even leave school.

This also gives us a chance to work with our Economic Development teams who’re looking at what skills gaps exist in industry, business and the third sector - for example at the moment, we know there are local gaps in provision for workers in Food and Drink – one of the key growth areas  identified and being funded by  the Ayrshire Growth Deal – from agricultural workers, to processors and front of house hospitality staff there are opportunities for training and worthwhile career prospects. 

“By offering foundation apprenticeships training in the food and drink sector and others such as Health and Social Care, we’re able to guide our young people towards good careers in sectors where there will be good local prospects for them. 

“This re-structuring of funding and organisation is not all about young people however. It empowers our teams and our local partners to provide more targeted and long term support to anyone of any age or life experience  who is needing employability guidance and help.  And with the boost in funds available we’ll be able to create two new jobs within the council to support the extra administration and expected demand. 

“It’s a real win win for community wealth building and local democracy, giving us the ability to use funds and resources where they will be of maximum benefit to the area and its people”

The new arrangements will come into place in April 2022 with transfer of funding and governance to local authorities and will bring all the funding under one umbrella to be managed through the Local Employability Partnership.

The Local Employability Partnership includes representatives from:

  • East Ayrshire Council Education Service
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Skills Development Scotland (SDS)
  • Ayrshire College
  • East Ayrshire Third Sector Interface
  • Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP)
  • NHS Ayrshire and Arran
  • East Ayrshire Council Employability Service
  • East Ayrshire Council Vibrant Communities Service

The partnership will provide strategic direction and leadership and use the available resources to commission local providers to deliver the services as needed.

Read the  full cabinet report

Our employability mission statement:

“East Ayrshire is a place where residents of all ages are able to achieve their potential when moving towards employment and within employment, and where employers can be confident in the quality of their employees and potential employees. East Ayrshire is a place where an increasing proportion of young people and adults are in appropriate and quality work, can achieve their earning potential, and thereby improve their health and wellbeing.’

This is supported by our 10 employability partner pledges, that:

  1. We make a positive difference for all people in East Ayrshire - particularly those most in need.
  2. We help a lot of people get and keep a job.
  3. All young people leave school with positive destination options.
  4. Our services are well communicated, easy to understand and easy to access for service users.
  5. We listen to and support local businesses and employers.
  6. Local people like our services and recommend them to others.
  7. People get equal access to our services wherever they live in East Ayrshire.
  8. Our staff are skilled, committed, and like working for us.
  9. We work together effectively, share information and collectively make the best use of resources. 10. We base all our actions on evidence, and consistently use of all of the intelligence available.

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