Thursday, 21 November 2013

Helping young people on to the right path for learning, training and employment

A new guide for teachers and parents to help young people plan for their future has been launched this week.

The Leeds Pathways website, which is provided by Leeds City Council, already helps young people plan their future options after Year 11 – be it further education, training, apprenticeships or employment. To recognise that most young people would turn to their parents or teachers for help, the website has now been redeveloped to help support this process.

This new resource will help parents and professionals support young people with understanding their options and making online applications for their next step after Year 11.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Most young people turn to their parents or teachers to help them take the next step after school - which is one of the most important decisions anyone will ever make - so it is vital they are able to access the most appropriate and detailed information to help them.

“Not only do young people now have to stay in learning for longer but they also have to meet employer expectations of being skilled and ready for a competitive job market. So supporting our young people to be well prepared and fully aware of their options is really important.”

Leeds Pathways ( the website Leeds City Council provides for the young people of Leeds to help plan for their future. There is something for every young person, whatever their aspirations, level of ability and personal circumstances. With the support of their school and their parents students are able to use the website to look at the full range of learning options and to explore employment opportunities available in the local labour market. Current year 11 students are now able to make an online application for the course or learning of their choice.

Members of Leeds Youth Council helped to make a video which shows why young people think career information and advice is so important to them, which can be viewed here:

Some young people also need extra support to help them move on, and not just after Year 11, but right through to age 19. Leeds City Council has put in place services to make sure that all young people are able to access the support they need:
• the Connexions Leeds Service: provides expert advice, both face-to-face and online for those who need extra help. Over the summer Connexions Leeds have provided direct support to over 5000 young people in Leeds between the ages of 16 and 19 (or 25 where a young person has special educational needs).

• the Connexions Centre, a newly refurbished hub in Eastgate for young people. As well as visiting the centre young people can contact Connexions online through Facebook and Twitter or ask for an appointment with an adviser.

• the Youth Contract focuses on helping 16-17 year olds who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) to get into education, training or employment; Since September 2012, over 650 young people have joined the Youth Contract programme in Leeds, with 61% of these young people already helped to move on into further learning.

For more information or to give feedback, people can contact the Leeds Pathways team using the Feedback button on the Leeds Pathways home page.

To help schools and academies meet their statutory duties around Information, Advice and Guidance for their pupils Leeds City Council offers support, including a Self-Assessment Toolkit which can be used to evaluate Career Development practice against Ofsted’s standards. Additionally, the council provides a Careers Education Network to all schools and colleges as a forum for improving and sharing good practice, with the aim of building partnerships across Leeds.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Discover what adopting is really like at information evening

People interested in finding out more about adoption – especially adopting a disabled child, are being invited to an information evening next week.

The information evening will be held on Tuesday 26 November at Cockburn High School LS11 5TT at 6.30pm.

Leeds City Council hosts monthly information evenings which provide potential adoptive parents with information about the adoption process and the children we need to find families for.

This month’s information evening will focus particularly on highlighting disabled children and children with additional needs as well as providing general information about the adoption process. This will include adoptive parents of disabled children describing their parenting experiences and challenging negative stereotypes of disability. There will be presentations from adoption social workers and the opportunity for one to one discussions with parents and workers about adopting disabled children as well as the process of adoption.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“Adoption is life-changing, exciting and rewarding. It has many challenges along the way but what is most important is that we place all children in our care, in a loving and supportive home. Information evenings are a great way of finding out what adoption is really like and if it is suitable for you. We regularly recruit new adoptive parents through our information evenings.”

All sorts of people can adopt. Leeds City Council welcomes applications from people of all religions, races, genders and sexuality. Leeds adopters reflect a wide range of circumstances and life experience, and can be married, single, in a relationship, divorced, widowed, employed or unemployed. Every application is assessed on an individual basis.

All the children who are seeking loving homes will have experienced a difficult start in life, through neglect or abuse and these children will have a range of needs, personalities, abilities and vulnerabilities.

This is an event for anyone considering adoption. Request for a Home Visit form will be available at the end of the evening for those wishing to progress to the next stage of the adoption process.

A good starting point for those interested would be to look on the Adopt for Leeds website or contact the Adoption duty line on 0113 3952072 with any queries.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Children’s rights are top of the agenda for new partnership

Leeds has committed to respect, protect and fulfil children’s human rights as part of a new partnership with UNICEF, which will complement the city’s existing Child Friendly ambitions.

As one of just six local authorities in the UK to sign up to the new partnership, Leeds is reaffirming its commitment to children and young people across the city.

Leeds’ on-going ambition to be a child friendly city already fits well with UNICEF’s aims to put children’s rights at the heart of public services.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“We have already pledged to put children at the heart of everything we do as part of our ambition to be a child friendly city and regularly put this in to practice. Listening to children and taking their views and ideas into account is now a daily part of our decision making process.

“We are very keen to work with UNICEF as we pursue our Child Friendly ambitions. The Child Rights based approach places the needs of children and their voice at the heart of decisions which affect their lives and this resonates very much with the work we are doing and want to develop further in Leeds.”

David Bull, UNICEF UK Executive Director, said:
“Child Rights Partners is an exciting new collaboration between UNICEF UK and six local authorities. It is inspired by UNICEF’s commitment – whether we’re working in the UK or internationally – to ensure every child can reach their full potential.

“Public services have sometimes failed children and young people by not listening to their opinions and needs, so we welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with these pioneering local authorities.

“They have committed, in economically difficult times, to take a hard transformative look at the services they deliver to the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people. By putting child rights into public services in a tangible way, we hope to show we can radically change practice - and therefore outcomes - for the UK’s children and young people.”

The partnership will mean Leeds will work with UNICEF over three years to deliver a project based on child-rights. The work in Leeds will focus on the service’s the council provides for young people leaving care. By working in partnership with UNICEF the council intends to develop increasingly robust services for this very important group of young people, who nationally have poorer outcomes than their peers. The council will be seeking to develop a more rounded approach to the service which crucially includes the voice of the care leavers themselves. Leeds Children’s Services will work with UNICEF as we move towards a single resource for our care leavers to ensure that they receive the best service possible.

Notes to editors:
The other local authorities involved in the Child Rights Partnership are: Derry; Glasgow; Neath and Port Talbot; Newcastle and; Tower Hamlets.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

City leaders present declaration to Prime Minister

Issued on behalf of the Core Cities group

City leaders present declaration to Prime Minister calling on Government to go further and faster with high-speed rail to maximise potential of UK cities

This morning, leaders from the UK’s ten largest cities outside of London presented a signed declaration to the Prime Minister calling for the fast delivery of High Speed 2 (HS2) and a commitment to bring about the creation of a full high speed network.

The declaration [1] comes on the day that the ten leaders of the English Core Cities (Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield) and Scotland’s principal cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, are holding a national Summit in London to discuss how greater devolution to the UK’s cities can benefit the UK economy by increasing GDP, jobs and tax revenues.

The UK’s cities believe that a national high-speed rail network has the potential to create “high speed cities” and is the only option to reshape and rebuild the national economy.

The declaration presented to the Prime Minister this morning said:-
• The Government must make the most of the untapped economic potential of the UK’s biggest cities and that without this commitment, national growth will be constrained for years to come.
• The whole of Parliament must unite and press on with the Hybrid Bill for Phase 1 and deliver with all speed plans for Phase 2.
• That the cities want to explore with Government the costs and benefits of expanding a network that extends High Speed 2 to all of the great cities of our country.
• Upgrades to the UK’s rail network are no longer enough. The only solution is a major injection of rail capacity and long-term infrastructure investment to secure the economic future the UK needs.
• That the cities look forward to working with successive Governments to ensure that the maximum economic benefit is extracted from this investment.

The Core Cities Summit today brought together 150 national and international figures to discuss and influence the debate on devolution and the future of our cities. Following the announcement of an unprecedented package of financial powers for Wales earlier this week, the Core Cities has today released a ‘Prospectus for Growth’ [2] outlining their own case for greater devolution to cities in England to drive growth, and also to reform the public sector.

The Prospectus predicts that by 2030 – before HS2 is completed – the Core Cities urban areas could put 1.16 million more jobs and £222 billion into the UK economy. That is like adding the entire economy of Denmark to the UK or almost £14,000 for every person living in a Core City urban area.

The Core Cites two key objectives set out in the prospectus are to outperform the national economy (by 2028) and to become financially independent of Government. At present, in England, cities only directly control about 5% of all the taxes raised from local people and businesses, with 95% going straight to the Government. The prospectus presents a nine point plan for achieving this vision.

The Core Cities fully support further devolution to Wales, but believe given similar powers, they could achieve great results, not just for their cities, but for the entire UK economy.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and Chair of the Core Cities Group, said:
“Today, half the planet lives in a city and by 2050 it will be 70%. Across the world it is cities that drive national economies. England’s great cities once led the world, and gave it the industrial revolution, but the UK is now one of the most centralised states in the world, where the lack of freedom is holding back our cities from doing more to create growth and jobs. Our aim is for all the Core Cities to outperform the national economy, and to become financially self-sustaining before the completion of High Speed Two.

“Today we are launching a Prospectus which contains new ideas for driving growth and jobs, and also for reforming the public sector, improving people’s lives, and making the services that underpin the well-being of a city sustainable for the long term. Through these plans we believe that our great English cities can drive a new economic revolution, putting us at the front of the global race. But achieving it means cities, their civic and business leaders, need the tools to deliver.”

Cllr Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council and Core Cities cabinet member for transport, said:
“High Speed 2 is an essential step toward a 21st Century high-speed rail network covering the whole of the UK. We see no credible alternative to achieving our wider economic vision. The UK lags behind the competition in its infrastructure. The existing rail network no longer has the capacity to support the increased levels of demand for rail travel that there will be within the next decade.

“Upgrades will not do, and will instead cause years of delays and economic damage not just for cities, but for the UK as a whole. Understanding the benefits this will bring is of course essential, but we believe the case has been made for this investment, which is roughly the same annual sum as that spent on Crossrail in London, and will connect all the UK’s cities as a single economic powerhouse”.


Notes to editors
1. The full declaration can be read online here.
2. The Core Cities prospectus can be read online here.
3. More photos are available on request.
4. City leaders are available for interview.
5. The Core Cities Core Cities are a unique and united local authority voice to promote the role of their cities in driving economic growth. They represent the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London. The Core Cities Group has a track record of 15 years as a cross party group, led by the City Leaders. It is a self-selected and self-funded group. For more information please visit

Media contacts
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