The County Council has signed an agreement to work closely with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to improve the employment opportunities and skills of local residents.
The new partnership agreement outlines how the council and the DWP will work collaboratively with Skills East Sussex to share information, improve referrals, maximise the use of resources, and strengthen the local skills infrastructure to better support residents and employers.
Agreed areas for partnership working, which aim to improve the prospects for young people and those residents in deprived wards in the county, include developing and promoting the Careers East Sussex web platform, supporting Youth Hubs for young people and working with the council’s Employability for Supported and Temporary Accommodation and Refuges (ESTAR) programme to assist some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.
The county is also concerned with addressing the needs of its young people and the agreement includes a commitment to preventing those aged 16 to 24 years old becoming NEET (Not in Education Employment or Training) or, if they are unemployed, to help them move swiftly into meaningful work or learning.
Cllr Rupert Simmons, lead member for economy at East Sussex County Council, said: “I am delighted to have signed this Partnership Agreement with the DWP. It’s an extremely positive step for our county as we continue our economic recovery from the pandemic and will have real impact on skills and career opportunities across East Sussex.
“I am particularly pleased with the emphasis on improving outcomes for young people and residents in areas of deprivation who may need additional help and support.”
Sally Funnell, Service Leader for the Department for Work and Pensions in Surrey and Sussex, said: “We are delighted to sign a Partnership Agreement with East Sussex County Council. The DWP is committed to developing strong and productive partnerships that support local communities.
“This agreement will be the first in place across Surrey and Sussex, and formally sets out how we will work together to improve opportunities for all residents in East Sussex, ensuring that together we are a driving force behind the recovery of the local economy.”
The agreement will be reviewed annually, with six-monthly meetings between the council and the DWP to monitor and evaluate progress against agreed targets.