A joint company could be set up by Bradford Council and Bradford College to help create 400 apprenticeships within Bradford businesses on an agency basis, as part of the £7.7 million Council-funded Get Bradford Working programme.
The setting up of an Apprenticeship Training Agency and the creation of an Employment Opportunities Fund are two key initiatives of the programme, which was approved in June.
Now councillors are looking at how the agency can be set up and are asking the executive to approve the establishment of a jointly-owned company to run the agency.
The £1.5m package is expected to receive some funding through the Leeds City Region as part of the City Deal and a proposal has been submitted to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills. The agency would employ a pool of apprentices and be responsible for their training and aims to help small and medium-sized businesses minimise the risk associated with employing staff more permanently.
In addition, the Council has allocated £4.5 million to set up an intermediate labour market programme to tackle long-term unemployment, particularly among 18 to 25-year-olds, those over 50 and people with a disability or work-limiting health condition.
It would see around 350 temporary jobs created over two years, employing participants for 12 months to carry out work that benefits the community and gain experience that will provide a “bridge into work”.
The Council is looking to form a partnership with social landlord Incommunities to run the programme. Incommunities has agreed to invest more than £1.8 million of resources and funds in the programme to enhance the Council cash.
Those on the scheme would be encouraged to complete work-based qualifications and be provided with support to find a more permanent and sustainable job with the experience they have gained.
It is hoped that both programmes would be up and running by the end of the year.
Councillor David Green, leader of the Council, said: “We are totally committed to boosting the skills and experience of our local communities and getting people into work.
“It is exciting to be able to set up this Apprenticeship Training Agency and the Intermediate Labour Market, which we feel confident will offer genuine employment opportunities, particularly those who have struggled to gain jobs or to gain the skills and qualifications that will help lever them into jobs.
“Moving people from long-term unemployment to sustained work is one of our main challenges but we feel that these initiatives under the Get Bradford Working programme have a real chance of meeting those challenges.”
Bradford College principal Michele Sutton said: “I am delighted to be working in partnership with the Council on a venture that will create much-needed apprenticeship places.”
Commenting on the new employment programme, Steve Short, director of Incommunities – Open Field, said: “We are delighted to be working with Bradford Council and partnership organisations on this major initiative to give people the skills for work and help encourage them to make the most of their lives.”
A decision on setting up the joint company for the Apprenticeship Training Agency and forming a partnership with Incommunities to deliver the Employment Opportunities Fund will be made at the next meeting of the Council’s executive on Tuesday, October 9, at 10.30am in City Hall, Bradford.