CCN Blogs | 20 June 2017
The challenges, economically and socially are likely to be the same for specific regions pre and post Brexit and approaches will need to be developed that will take account of economic bumps along the way in supporting our communities develop long term sustainability through good times and bad. So what does this mean, over and above what is already being done?
One of the current challenges, but one that may change based on how the economy performs, is that many of the easier to reach groups are nearing full employment. Its the hard to reach groups, NEETS, those with physical and mental disabilities and the long term unemployed who need our support. Local regions have insight into the specific problems and can bring resources to bear at a local level quickly. What they often lack is the scale of national programmes that can help bring learning from other regions and resources from providers such as Serco.
Tapping into these private sector resources can unlock quickly a supply chain that is skilled and capable of delivering real outcomes and benefits at affordable costs due to the fact the local region does not need to replicate an infrastructure already built and in place.
In the last year, through Sercos Work Programme delivery, we have brought over 5,000 back into work, including 400 NEETS and 1,300 18 to 24-year-olds, whilst retaining our Excellent rating on the DWP Merlin assessment for supply chain management. In the Skills area, Serco led the development of the first new degree-level apprenticeship in Management with 40 other employers on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Management (CMI) and we are currently managing over 1,200 internal and external apprentices. With the Apprentice Levy approaching, local regions can exploit this new funding channel, as long as the infrastructure is in place, so to do.
The role of SMEs in wealth and job creation is a third part to the jigsaw and Serco already works with 35 local authorities in the south West, Wales and Cheshire in supporting exploitation of digital and superfast broadband across these areas, engaging with over 85,000 businesses.
So joining up is not just about using local resources collectively, as we all know its about enlisting support from national programmes and also bringing support from private sector capabilities that will make a real difference whatever the impacts of Brexit and devolution.
By Phil Ruston, Business Development Director, Citizen Services, Serco