Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, was in the West of England today to meet regional businesses and talk about their skills needs.
The Chairman of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, Professor Steve West, and chief executive of the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership, Patricia Greer, also met with the Secretary of State.
Prof West said: “We are an economically successful region where businesses start, grow and thrive in high numbers – but there are still significant skills gaps in some areas, and business must work with government, at regional and national level, to address these.
“Devolution to our region is giving us, the West of England Combined Authority and LEP, a chance to really focus on skills, and we are committed to giving locally-grown talent every opportunity to secure employment, by making sure they have the right skills for our businesses.”
Secretary of State Esther McVey said: “Bristol is a vibrant city and the South West has an above average employment rate of 79.3%. We have spent the last seven years fixing the economy, now we are focussed on providing truly tailored support at a local level. We want everyone, no matter what their background, to be able to progress and it’s been great hearing how the West Country’s charities, employers and local Jobcentre Plus staff are working collaboratively to help people do just that.”
The Secretary of State was also updated on the new Future Bright project, which aims to boost skills and opportunities for up to 3,000 adults. This £4 million project is being funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and run by the West of England Combined Authority, working with Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils.