Tees Valley’s £6m funding helps 1,000’s return to employment

The brilliant news that the Tees Valley has received £6million worth of funding to support thousands of people across the region back in to work, is music to our ears at a time where the region’s future success is at the forefront of our minds.

In the wake of Wednesday’s ‘Building a Thriving North East’ event, held at Hartlepool College of Further Education, the importance of building the confidence and ambition of the Tees Valley community, young and old, is evident. If the region is going to bounce back from the issues that it has previously faced, and establish itself as the powerhouse it deserves to be, business leaders need to collaborate in order to tackle the array of social, educational, and mindset barriers that potentially stand in the way.

Our region is bursting with innovative, forward-thinking businesses, who have worked hard to reinvent themselves in times of regional change and have come out on top time and time again. The Tees Valley, once known for heavy industry such as steel manufacturing, has evolved in to a hub of digital/creative industry, which demonstrates its diversity perfectly.

These businesses have the potential to progress and grow, yet if businesses don’t make the effort to instil passion and excitement in to the next generation, where will we be 10 years from now?

The pilot initiative, which has been launched in the six combined authority areas in the country, is particularly exciting, as it offers opportunity to people aged 30 and over, who have had the greatest difficult getting in to the world of work due to struggles experienced during their time in education.

At Wednesday’s event, Shaun Hope, Head of Student Recruitment at Hartlepool College of Further Education, spoke about the difficulties that a results-driven education system has created. A constant focus on achieving the best results has meant that the support for those who academically aren’t the greatest performers has declined year after year.

This initiative will help to combat this lack of support, which resulted in school underachievers struggling to find employment. It will give them the opportunity to identify their talents and skills, and support with driving their ambition to achieve and better themselves.

Yet what I find most exciting is that its ripple effect will have a positive impact on those around them. If a child see’s a parent in a full time job, achieving and feeling fulfilled, they are more likely to have aspirations for their own future career. The same goes for other family members, friends and neighbours.

Our newly elected mayor, Ben Houchen, is calling upon local support services and councils, voluntary organisations, and Tees Valley businesses to provide the best possible support to help people back to work. Thanks to this funding, support will no longer be a financial burden, all that is asked is that they provide their time.

Going forward a regional focus needs to be on urging business and organisation leaders to consider themselves as role models to the community and to take a step back to see how they can help to make a difference.