New project to boost employment for disadvantaged Ipswich youngsters

Jordan Holder of New Anglia LEP; Nicola Beach, Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council and Matthew

Jordan Holder of New Anglia LEP; Nicola Beach, Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council and Matthew Hicks, the Leader of Suffolk County Council. Photo: New Anglia LEP. - Credit: Archant

For too long children from disadvantaged backgrounds have been left behind.

In 2017 Ipswich was ranked among the 30 worst local authority areas in a nationwide Social Mobility Index.

The index assessed the chances a disadvantaged child, measured by whether they are eligible for free school meals, will perform well and get a job.

Ipswich came 292 out of 324.

MORE: Warning of store closures and job losses as Sport Direct make takeover bid for GameAs a result major strides are being taken to level the playing field and give youngsters the opportunities they deserve.

Ipswich was selected as one of 12 'Opportunity Areas' in England to receive an equal share of a £72 million funding pot to deliver plans which will help build the knowledge and skills of local young people.

Most recently Suffolk County Council (SCC) has announced its partnership with The Careers & Enterprise Company to become a 'Cornerstone Employer' - working with other employers to develop employability and skills in schools and colleges.

It will act as ambassador for social mobility by galvanising its networks and committing to work with other Cornerstone Employers.

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Nicola Beach, chief executive of SCC, said: "We were delighted to join the other Cornerstone Employers leading the development and delivery of the Ipswich Opportunity Area Business Plan.

"This demonstrates our continued commitment to helping young people in Suffolk to develop vital skills that will provide them with the best chance of securing employment.

"Suffolk County Council has been engaging young people about employability and skills at events held in schools, including supported mock interviews and have provided summer placements."

She added: "We have also successfully agreed with the Raising the Bar awards to include a new apprenticeship category to the Inspiring Young Person of the Year Award.

"We will continue to work hard to ensure that the future is bright for the young people of Suffolk."

Part of the programme will focus on greater collaboration to bridge the gap between education and employers and Suffolk County Council, along with nine other local organisations - BT Adastral Park, East of England Co-operative, Ipswich Building Society, Ipswich Town Football Club, John Grose, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Sindall and Realise Futures - have committed support to make this happen.

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