Funding to develop retailing job opportunities in conjunction with Westfield, which is building the £260 million Broadway shopping centre, has been announced by Bradford Council.
The local authority is investing a further £1.4 million into its highly regarded Get Bradford Working programme, which has to date supported more than 550 unemployed people back into work and created more than 300 new job and apprenticeship roles by working with local employers.
The latest move will fund a new retail academy to work alongside Westfield and other existing retailers, Jobcentre Plus and various employment agencies.
It will aim to help ensure that people gain the right skills, attributes and qualifications for when the retailers start recruiting.
More than 2,000 jobs will be generated by the Broadway project being developed by Westfield and Meyer Bergman.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, executive member for employment, skills and culture, said: “The Council sees boosting employment for local people as a top priority which is why we have committed further funding to the scheme.”
The Get Bradford Working scheme includes initiatives such as the Routes into Work Fund, the Employment Opportunities Fund and an Apprenticeship Training Agency.
The £1.4 million will be allocated to the Routes into Work Fund which commissions employment and skills activities for some of the district’s most disadvantaged residents.
The Council is also seeking to prolong the Employment Opportunities Fund using external funding from Leeds City Region which will create additional jobs.
The authority has already invested more than £10m into its Get Bradford Working scheme and in so doing has levered in funding from other agencies amounting to £6.5m.
Labour is ready to bankroll Bradford’s pioneering ‘back to work’ scheme, convinced it is the best solution to high unemployment.
The Telegraph & Argus revealed recently that Labour has pledged to use the Bradford scheme as the basis for replacing the private sector-led Work Programme, because it is failing to find jobs for the “hardest to help”, if it wins the next election.
Instead, cash will be funnelled through local councils, or Local Enterprise Partnerships, which will organise job creation programmes for their areas.
Labour said the model will be the Council’s much-praised Get Bradford Working Employment Opportunities Fund which gives the young jobless a paid 12-month work placement.
At present, the £7.7m programme has to be funded by the cash-starved Council. Crucially, under Labour's plans, Whitehall would pay – allowing it to expand dramatically.