Tuesday, 27 November 2012

New agency to match young talent to city’s businesses

A unique new agency launches this week that will create hundreds of careers for young people by giving the city’s businesses an affordable and low risk new route to recruit the skills they need.

The Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) will act as the broker matching talented, focused young apprentices with local businesses who want to skill and grow their workforce.

The agency, an independent company jointly owned by Leeds City Council and Leeds City College, showcases the new approach Leeds is taking to creating jobs and developing talent and skills that the city’s businesses need for growth.

The council and college have worked closely with the city’s businesses and the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce to develop the ATA model. The agency will work with businesses to identify their skills needs, then advertise and recruit talented, focused apprentices - removing some of the risks and barriers which have discouraged many of the city’s smaller businesses from creating apprentice opportunities in the past.

The ATA will link with the emerging Leeds Apprenticeship Hub developed under the Leeds City Region City Deal Skills Programme to support business growth through investment in skills.

The ATA launch will be hosted at Law Firm Cobbetts on Thursday 29th November at its offices at No 1 Whitehall, where invited members of the city’s business community will hear more about how the agency can help them.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“All the evidence shows that public spending on apprenticeships produces an excellent economic return – every £1 spent on apprenticeships, delivers a £16-£21 return. As it is SMEs that will drive our local and regional economy forward, it makes sense for SMEs to reap the rewards of taking on talented, enthusiastic apprentices. The ATA will help make that a reality.

“While there is no doubt that employers benefit from apprenticeships, it is also those very same opportunities that will help us tackle the persistent challenge of youth unemployment.

“We demanded these devolved powers from Government because we recognise the importance, for both our economy and our young people, of being able to pursue priorities like the ATA. I hope as a result we will soon see many more talented young people making a valuable contribution to local businesses through apprenticeships. ”

Businesses interested in an apprentice can contact the Leeds Apprenticeship Training Agency on 0113 220 6370 or email info@ATALeeds.co.uk. Young people looking for an apprenticeship can visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Notes to editors:

The ATA is a company limited by guarantee and jointly owned by Leeds City Council and Leeds City College.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

City leaders to discuss the present and future of Leeds

A debate into the current state of Leeds and the challenge of turning the city into the best in the United Kingdom will be the focus of a special meeting this week.

The city’s councillors will be joined by key partners and stakeholders at a special meeting at Civic Hall from 1pm on Wednesday 28 November (tomorrow) to consider the findings of the annual State of the City Report which examines and evaluates key areas of life in Leeds.

Also attending and addressing the meeting will be guest speakers in the forms of Olympic Triathlon Champion Alistair Brownlee, Leeds-based skills and labour market expert Professor Mike Campbell OBE and deputy member of the Youth Parliament for Leeds Nicole Thomas.

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Media are invited to cover the State of the City Report meeting at Civic Hall from 1pm on Wednesday 28 November (tomorrow). The guest speakers including Olympic Triathlon Champion Alistair Brownlee will address the meeting from 4pm onwards.
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The meeting will begin with overview comments on the report, before splitting into two seminar sessions which will look at some of the key issues within it. The topics these seminars will look at are: The City Deal, social enterprise, Leeds city centre, jobs and skills, restorative practice and health and wellbeing.

At the end of these sessions, the full meeting will reconvene to hear from the three guest speakers, starting with 14-year-old Nicole Thomas who attends The E-Act Leeds East Academy talking about the State of the City Report from a young person’s perspective.

Professor Mike Campbell will then speak on the importance of skills and employment policy in successful cities, before Alistair Brownlee provides the finale of the meeting.

The Team GB gold medallist from Bramhope, who emerged as one of the stars of the London 2012 Olympic Games along with younger brother Jonny who followed him home to take bronze, will be speaking about the legacy of London 2012 and ‘inspiring a generation’.

Olympic Triathlon Champion Alistair Brownlee said:

“Without doubt, 2012 has been an amazing year for me. To win the gold medal at the Olympics and to experience the support from the crowds is something I’ll never forget, especially as my brother Jonny joined me on the podium.

“I’m very proud of where I’m from and I hope what I have achieved can inspire people in Leeds and Yorkshire, and particularly young people, to always try to do their best in sport and all other areas of their lives.”

Skills and labour market expert Professor Mike Campbell said:

“I am delighted to be asked to work with Leeds City Council and help ensure that the skills and labour market serve local people. The right skills training building on good education will lead to good economic growth and jobs. Employers, educators, councils and government all need to play their part to improve life in key cities like Leeds.”

Deputy member of the Youth Parliament for Leeds Nicole Thomas said:

“I joined the Youth Parliament because I wanted the opportunity to be the voice of many young people and be part of making a difference in our society. I am looking forward to doing just this, by working with councillors and with other young people at the State of the City event.”

Looking ahead to the meeting, Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“The State of the City Report is a very important document not only in evaluating where Leeds currently stands but also in outlining the challenges to be overcome and improvements which will make a real difference to people’s lives and help Leeds become the best city in the UK.

“We are delighted to welcome Alistair Brownlee along with Professor Mike Campbell and Nicole Thomas to the meeting on Wednesday and we are very much looking forward to hearing what they have to say."

The State of the City Report 2012 can be seen at the following link: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/State-of-the-city-report.aspx.

This link will also host video footage of the meeting plus the talks by the guest speakers including Alistair Brownlee which will be available to be viewed on Thursday.

A second full council meeting on the State of the City Report will be held following the finalisation of the council’s annual budget in February 2013.

Notes to editors:

The annual State of the City Report for Leeds underpins the Vision for Leeds, The City Priority Plans and the Council Business Plan.

The report has been commissioned by the Leeds Initiative Board and written by Leeds City Council, the NHS in Leeds and the wider public sector partnership. It sets out a range of key facts about the city, the challenges it faces and the way in which the council, NHS and other public and third sector partners will be working together to secure the best possible prospects for the people of Leeds. The report is for anyone who wants to know more about Leeds - as a member of the community, someone who works in Leeds, visits, learns, does business or invests in the city.

The Leeds Initiative Board and other partnerships will use the report to assess their progress in delivering improved outcomes for the people of Leeds.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk