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Driving employment opportunities in Knowsley – update

by Guy Murphy

On Tuesday 5 March, Knowsley Council’s Inclusive Growth and Skills Scrutiny Committee was provided with an update on the work to deliver employment opportunities for residents.

Unemployment in Knowsley

Overall, work to support residents back into employment has proven successful in recent years. Unemployment rates in Knowsley have fallen to 4.6% (January 2024) from high of 8.9% in May 2020, with positive trends also reflected in increased levels of pay amongst residents.

One of the most hard-hit cohorts of residents is young people aged 16-24, In May 2020, unemployment rates in this group hit a peak of 14.8% in May 2020 but have fallen to 8% in January 2024. The Council is undertaking a range of initiatives to improve employment opportunities for young people, this includes support school leavers to be employment ready and increasing awareness of both internships and apprenticeships.

Driving employment in Knowsley

There are three main teams providing employment initiatives in the borough: Knowsley Works, the Restart Team and The Knowsley Apprenticeship and Employer Engagement Team.

Knowsley Works operated from three centres across the borough, with a further centre in Prescot due to open in May. The team also attended 20 various community venues each week to ensure full coverage across the borough. Over the past year the team has:

  • Provided 2,720 residents with information, advice and guidance
  • Provided 1,820 residents with employment support
  • Supported 1,310 residents into employment support

The Restart Team is based in Huyton and Kirkby and has:

  • Engaged with 739 residents to provide information, guidance and advice
  • Provided 591 residents with employment support
  • Supported 370 residents into employment

Knowsley Apprenticeship and Employer Engagement Team offers a variety of services to both residents and businesses.

From April 2024, the team will deliver the new World of Work programme, which aims to properly prepare young residents for employment by bringing together local employers and schools.

Notable successes include:

  • Engaged 500 16–21-year-olds and provided information, advice and guidance.
  • Provided 250 residents with employment support
  • Supported 100 residents into employment or onto an apprenticeship each year
  • Created and filled 1,622 apprenticeship opportunities since 2009.

Improving skills and learning

A key focus on increasing employment opportunities is also through improving skills, especially for residents who might face barriers to accessing training and learning opportunities.

Knowsley FACE is the Council’s Adult and Community Education service. It offers a range of courses to adults aged 19+ and operates both across the borough and virtually.

The report to the committee noted that improving skills levels continues to be a key factor in enable Knowsley residents to access higher skilled and higher paying jobs. Average earnings in Knowsley are £670 per week compared to £640 across the Northwest of England.

You can view the full paper here.