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Agenda item

Rotherham Employment and Skills Strategy

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Jobs and the Local Economy

Strategic Directorate:           Regeneration and Environment

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which was presented for pre-decision scrutiny by the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment which was due to be determined by the Cabinet on 10 June 2019. The report provided detail of the Rotherham Employment and Skills Strategy. It was reported that the strategy was a Rotherham Together Partnership (RTP) document which linked to the existing Rotherham Economic Growth Plan, to provide a framework for delivery of employment and skills activity over the next five years. This was considered to be essential to provide a suitably enterprising and skilled local workforce to drive forward the sustainable long term growth of the Rotherham economy and allow it to compete in an increasingly global economy.

 

Members referred to the employment market for the local health economy and the shortage of health workers and health apprenticeships and sought to understand confidence levels in respect of work being undertaken to invest in that workforce. In response, the Strategic Director advised that the strategy was a partnership document and that the Council’s role was to influence and inform, but it was recognised that the future skills agenda was very important. Furthermore, the authority was cognisant of the need to better connect the approach to skills levels in the workforce across the borough in public and private sectors. The Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy added that it was key that all partners bought into the provisions of the strategy, as it would only be as good as the level of commitment shown by partners.

 

Reference was made to female economic inactivity, with 79% cited as being inactive and not wanting a job. Assurances were sought that this was properly addressed within the strategy and action plan. In response, officers confirmed that the figures did up carers following a piece of work undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University. It was recognised that more work was needed in this area on how this group could be better supported as the strategy development. It was noted that the Employment and Skills Sub-Group of the Rotherham Together Partnership would oversee progress in this area. Members felt that this required further discussion within the equality analysis accompanying the report.

 

Members noted that there were a number of dependencies within the strategy on external funding and other agencies and sought to understand how the risks of not securing funding or support from those agencies would be managed. In response, the Strategic Director advised that the success measure for the strategy was dependent on partners and other agencies across the local region and nationally.

 

Members referred to duty to encourage skills as well as education and,  referring to the recommendations from the Youth Cabinet in respect of the work experience offer for young people,  sought to understand the degree to which this would be deliverable. In response, officers referred to the Gatsby Benchmarks, which were not specific on what was to be provided. Schools were ultimately responsible for determining and delivering the work experience offer for their students and it was known that there was variable approaches adopted across different schools around the borough. The strategy had set out what the partners had considered to be desirable, but work was required to give effect to this and conversations would be ongoing with schools to establish how this could be supported.

 

Reference was made to the internal and external migration and the trend for young people to move out of the borough to seek employment. Assurances were sought in respect of the actions being taken to remedy this so that young people from Rotherham’s good educational establishments could contribute to and enjoy the economic success of the borough. In response, the Strategic Director indicated that further analysis was required on the data provided by Sheffield Hallam University, but referred to anecdotal information as to why young people move around, particularly in respect of going to university in other areas. 

 

Members expressed concerns in respect of the lack of detail within the action plan. In response, officers confirmed that this would be developed further with the Employment and Skills Sub-Group and gave assurances that this would be worked on in due course.  

 

Resolved:-

 

1.      That Cabinet be advised that the recommendations be supported.

 

2.      That consideration be given to the design of the document to ensure that it is accessible.

 

3.      That consideration be given to what steps can be taken to address barriers to employment or training such as lack of photographic identification or access to bank accounts.

 

4.      That consideration is given to how meaningful work experience opportunities can be given to young people

 

5.      That the Equality Analysis be reviewed to ensure that it reflects sex/gender inequality in the employment and skills market.

 

6.      That a detailed action plan be provided with clear, targets, milestones and measures in three months’ time to Improving Places Select Commission.

 

 

 

 

Supporting documents: