Partnership working is helping residents secure jobs

18 December 2012

NEATH Port Talbot Council's commitment to working with its partners has resulted in increased employment opportunities in the county borough.

Councillor Alun Thomas

Despite being faced with economic challenges, the Council's Enterprise, Business and Employment Support Services has been working with its partners to help and support unemployed residents secure training, apprenticeships and to-date has helped 1467 residents find jobs.

The European Social Fund West Wales Workways project has achieved notable success by helping 1403 residents find jobs since 2009.

Neath Port Talbot Council leader Ali Thomas said the Workways project has taken an innovative approach to engage local communities and form strong relationships with employers for the benefit of residents.

He said: "This is essential for any employment initiative. As a result of this approach, more than 30 unemployed people from Neath Port Talbot have secured employment with Tesco at both their local and regional stores."

The Workways team have developed the Employer Support Group, which brings together local organisations and agencies to share information and handle recruitment request more efficiently for the benefit of both potential employers and job seekers.

The Council is also working with public sector contractors to encourage them to use local businesses and workers on Authority-led projects

"An excellent example of the effectiveness of these Community Benefit clauses is the Harbourway project," said councillor Thomas. "In total, 35 local people have received direct employment from Costain and local contractors have benefited from £3m of spend."

Local communities have also benefited from the awarding of the contracts for Glan-y-Mor School, Croeserw Community Enterprise Centre, Pen-y-Cymoedd Wind Farm and the University Second Campus.

Collaboration with NPT Homes has resulted in 17 local people finding work in addition to the recruitment of seven apprentices by the Mears Group in the summer.

The Council is also keen to support young entrepreneurs. The Sandfields Young Business Centre (TSYBC) was established to support young people in business by providing an environment for businesses to develop.

Support packages which include affordable rent, high quality office and workshop space as well as on-site advice and support facilities are available at the centre.

Councillor Thomas said: "There are a number of businesses from the creative sector who are based at the Centre who have achieved notable success. Productive links have been made between these companies with Tonto Films who are currently transforming the former Visteon Factory on Fabian Way."

The Centre is running the Innov8 project which provides business planning, guidance on start up, ongoing mentoring and access to specialist support for people under the age of 31 who either have a business idea or are in need of advice on running an existing business. To date, more than 100 advice sessions have been delivered and 44 businesses have received start up grants of up to £1,000.

In addition to the Innov8 grants, the Council has providing invaluable financial support equating to more than £620,000.

Councillor Thomas said: "The grant and loan scheme has supported 113 business expansion projects, helped 20 business start ups as well as creating more than 170 new posts and safeguarding more than 500 jobs.

"The Council is continuing to provide small scale financial support to local businesses to help boost the local economy. Despite being faced with some challenging economic times, we will continue to work in partnership with a number of agencies to ensure that our residents have access to a number of employment opportunities."

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