Leeds puts children at the heart of inclusive growth

Leeds council has launched a consultation on its new inclusive growth strategy, which aims to put children at the heart of the city’s growth plans.

The plan, which is out to consultation until 16 October, covers 12 key areas, including children, tackling low pay and boosting productivity.

The document said it aims to put children ‘at the heart of the growth strategy’ and promises to strengthen the role of schools in helping students get ready for work, with improved careers advice and a greater emphasis on the benefits of apprenticeships, rather ‘than prioritising traditional academic paths’.

The draft strategy cites the example of Carr Manor Community School, which has pledged to work with its children and young people and ‘develop their personal aspirations and the awareness of the world around them, and the opportunities they have’.

It adds the council will also work to encourage more girls into sectors such as manufacturing, construction and digital.

‘More skills training and a ‘deeper’

involvement with schools and colleges’

The local authority also pledges to work with businesses to encourage and support parents returning to work after having children.

‘Investing in children offers the greatest returns and we are committed to giving our children the best start possible,’ the report states.

The report also calls on businesses in Leeds to commit to invest more in skills training and ‘deepen’ their involvement with schools and colleges.

‘We will also continue to make the case to government for greater investment and more local control over the skills system.’

The authority also pledges to continue to target investment and intervention in local places, which are ranked by the government as some of the most deprived in England, including six priority neighbourhoods, which have some of the most concentrated deprivation in the country.

‘The council will work with local people, partners and other stakeholders to develop programmes that focus on connecting these neighbourhoods back into the economic and social mainstream of the city, so that residents are able to take advantage of the jobs and training opportunities that are often in close proximity, in the city centre or other centres of employment,’ the report adds.

The strategy also sees Leeds council promise to develop a social enterprise strategy to help support the sector. According to the report, the third sector already employs 13,000 people in Leeds and is fuelled by around 200,000 volunteers.

It cites the example of Leeds Credit Union, which is one of the largest in the country and works with more than 20,000 people to provide loans and savings, and Leeds Community Homes, which has recently raised £250,000 through a community share issue to build new and refurbished homes.

Leeds council is also part of the Core Cities group, which recently published a green paper putting inclusive growth at the heart of its vision for a stronger and fairer Britain.

‘Alongside partners in the private sector, our aim is to stimulate inclusive growth which reduces inequality through a strategy that provides job opportunities for everyone, brings down unemployment and increases wages,’ said leader of Leeds Council, Judith Blake.

‘There’s no question we need to do more to ensure everyone in the city both contributes to and benefits from the success of our economy. By pledging their support for this strategy and making its core values a key part of how they operate, businesses can be part of securing a more balanced, sustainable and successful Leeds economy than ever before.’


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