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Leeds and Bradford secure approval for £9.8m programme to tackle unemployment


Leeds City Council and City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council have been awarded a £4.9m grant from the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF), which will be match funded by each authority to help reduce unemployment across both cities.

Leeds will receive a share of the funding to deliver the £2.8m Skills Training Employment Pathways (STEP) project. It will provide a wide range of assistance and training to around 1,500 of the city’s residents to help them move into and retain work. This follows a joint bid which was submitted to the ESIF last year by Leeds City Council and City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

‘STEP’, will start delivering in Leeds next month and will target help to those aged over 25 who have been out of work for 12 months or more. Specialist support will be available to those with health barriers and to meet the specific needs of those over 50.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for employment, skills and opportunity said:

“A range of work is being undertaken in Leeds and across the city region to provide people of all ages, and especially those who have been out of work for a long period, with the skills, support and confidence to find employment.

“I am delighted therefore that our joint bid to the ESIF with the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council has been successful. This means that over the next three years, through the STEP project, we will be able to further tackle the barriers that are stopping long-term unemployed people aged over 25 securing a job.”

Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills said:

“It’s great news for the district that our joint bid with Leeds City Council has been accepted. It means that we can implement the STEP programme to help long-term unemployed people in our district overcome the barriers they face so they find work.

“I want to acknowledge the support of Incommunities, Aspire-Igen, the Department for Work and Pension and Leeds City Council who have supported this bid. The success of this funding means we can continue to build on the success of our innovative Get Bradford Working initiative.”