23 March 2021

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Wakefield Council launches new employment and skills strategy

An exciting new strategy to give a major boost to employment and skills across the district has been launched by Wakefield Council and its partners.

With the aim to become a UNESCO ‘Learning City and District’ this ambitious new employment and skills strategy – ‘Wakefield, a Learning City and District’ – was launched with an official promotional video, giving residents, partners and communities across the district an insight into what it will mean for them.

Becoming a Learning City and District would be a significant step forward – to enable a bright future in a fast changing, progressive city by making sure people have the skills to get a job and progress in work and for employers to attract people with the right skills they need for growth – which is a key priority for the district.

Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: “We have a bright future here in Wakefield, and this new strategy - becoming a Learning City and District - will encourage our residents to be able to retrain, progress with their current jobs, but above all will allow new employers to come into the district and invest, giving us all a much brighter future.

“The employment and skills strategy sets out an ambitious programme of work to help people into work, to ensure they realise their potential and to ensure that businesses can access the skills they need now and in the future. This will enable us to improve productivity and secure fair and inclusive growth.

“Working together across the district with our partners, we have made great strides in recent years. I firmly believe there is more to be done to drive collaborative working across providers and employers - an approach that will benefit us all. A sustained collaborative effort is required to see our ambitions realised, by sharing expertise, targeting resources and taking collective action.”

The promotional video, produced by Wakefield’s very own Stada Media, saw partners showcasing the new five year strategy.

It consists of inspiring snippets from key partners and figures who are heavily invested in ensuring the success of the new strategy; Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Head of Regeneration at Business in the Community, Jane Walton, social entrepreneur, mentor and teacher, Sam Wright, Principal at Wakefield College, Simon Topham, CEO of Citizens Advice Wakefield district and Rich Jones, Nova adviser, community enterprise and development.

The video of ‘Wakefield, a Learning City and District’ highlights the aims of the strategy, reflected by the strategy’s four underpinning pillars:

1. Skills for the future: To improve the skills of our existing and future workforce. To be a district where learning is innovative, technologically advanced and narrows the skills gap to develop a highly skilled workforce, joining skills to future business needs.

2. Local system for local needs: To ensure our education and training provision meets the needs of local residents and businesses, by partners working together to create an education and skills system that provides local solutions to local challenges.

3. Access to employment and skills for all: Provide an inclusive jobs market for residents to find and sustain well paid employment, by ensuring access to learning is available for all levels and to all ages with increased participation from hard to reach/ disadvantaged communities.

4. Lifelong careers and progression: Promote all-age career and progression opportunities, enabling an ethos of quality which underpins the provision of continuous lifelong learning opportunities for all residents within the district.

Initial plans to put the strategy into action include a series of workshops with business leads, employers, training providers and partners to better understand the training needs of the future. Anyone who wishes to get involved, please contact

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