A learning centre which would provide jobseekers with work-ready skills and improve residents’ quality of life is on the cards for Melton.
Melton Council is looking to work with businesses and partner agencies on the development of the centre which would effectively provide a ‘one-stop shop’ helping to boost jobhunters’ skills and increase their job prospects.
The centre, which would be available to residents of the whole borough, is proposed to be based within the council’s former Phoenix House headquarters in Nottingham Road.
The aim is to get the project’s initial development phase up and running as soon as possible, with a view to eventually running a full pilot scheme from next year running for at least two years.
A progress report to the council’s policy, finance and administration committee will be discussed on Monday.
The report said: “The learning centre will work with businesses to up-skill residents and ensure that those aged 19-64 have access to courses that can help them to become more work ready.
“There is evidence of a clear need for this type of project as current information indicates that in 2012, 19.12 per cent of Melton working age residents either had no qualifications or NVQ level 1 compared to 17.04 per cent in Leicestershire and 15.64 per cent nationally.
“Melton is also below county and national averages for those trained to NVQ levels 3 and 4. This will be a barrier to people gaining employment or being able to earn sufficient money to be able to cope financially in the future when welfare changes start to take full effect.”
Council officers are now aiming to seek funding streams for the project, with project mandate set to be presented to council members in December asking approval to include the scheme into the council’s 2014/15 capital programme.
Malise Graham, the council’s lead member for entrepreneurship and skills, welcomed the project.
He said: “I wish it every success. I think there is concern that we haven’t got the right skills in Melton for certain jobs.
“This project would hopefully identify what those needs are and, by working with businesses, how they can be met.”
It’s hoped the learning centre project will build on other initiatives launched to help people get back into work including the council’s job fair event which this year attracted nearly 400 people and saw about 20 employers, as well as training advisers, advertising opportunities and offering valuable advice.