Peterborough’s long-term unemployed, and elderly and disabled residents, will be helped into work in the health and social care sector as part of a £7.2 million project.
The new ‘Health and Care Sector Progression Academy’ is largely being funded by a £5.2 million contribution from the Government, with the rest made up from other sources including the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
The money will help train around 2,100 people across Cambridgeshire – including disabled and older people – to secure jobs in the industry. That total includes 600 new apprenticeships, with the hope that many will then progress into full-time work in health and social care.
Those already working in the sector will also be given assistance to progress their careers.
The scheme, one of six employment pilots announced today (Tuesday, August 1) by the Government, was designed by the combined authority, the public body created through devolution which is headed up by elected mayor James Palmer.
Mayor Palmer said: “This is a prime example of the benefits Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will receive because of our devolution deal with central government.
“The additional £5.2 million is set to create 600 new apprenticeships, providing us with an opportunity to upskill local people whilst supporting the health and care industry.
“I am excited to see this pilot develop and help us make a difference in the county.”
Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, David Gauke, said: “We have record numbers of people in work which is great news, but there are still people missing out on the available opportunities because of barriers to employment.
“The new Health and Care Sector Academy will help to train more talented people into the social care profession, and increase this good practice across the country.
“This pilot is yet another step forward in our efforts to help people of all backgrounds enjoy the benefits of work and will boost the wide ranging support we currently offer through local experts like Jobcentre Plus.”
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, said: “As part of the devolution revolution we’ve handed swathes of power and significant investment to help boost jobs and growth across the country.
“Now we’re going even further to support six areas with devolution deals by working with the new combined authority mayors to pilot innovative employment schemes.
“These pilots will trial new approaches to help the most disadvantaged people in our society to get the security of a good job and a regular pay packet, helping to build a country that works for everyone.”
Combined authority portfolio holder for employment and skills, and leader of Fenland District Council, John Clark said: “Devolution has already unlocked millions of pounds for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for housing and transport, and now it is helping to us to address areas of deprivation with employment support for thousands of people.
“This pilot will help tackle a shortage of skilled workers in the health and care sector to meet current and future labour demands and reduce the reliance on work-related benefits, giving better security in employment and improving career and pay prospects.”