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Plans to boost economy revealed

Boosting skills and getting people into work are at the heart of the proposals

Leading the economic recovery

A brand new initiative designed to boost skills and get people into work is set to launch online and in libraries this spring.

Work+ would offer comprehensive support including help with job interviews and digital skills and is one of a raft of proposals unveiled by Leicestershire County Council. 

Extending the Government’s Kickstart scheme by creating 30 apprenticeships for 16-24 year-olds is mooted as part of wide-ranging measures to support those whose job prospects have been most impacted by the pandemic.

Extending superfast broadband to hard-to-reach rural areas, attracting more visitors to the area and building a low-carbon and sustainable economy are also woven into the plans.

Local government has taken the lead in tackling this deadly virus. Since March, we’ve invested over £3m supporting community groups and hundreds of small businesses and struggling rural pubs and this has been widely welcomed.

It’s clear the damage to the economy will take some time to repair - and that’s why it’s important we go further. The impact on young people has been profound. And with many unsure about their future, I’m pleased our initiatives will benefit them. By receiving practical assistance, we hope they will develop the skills and experience that will be of value to many local businesses. 

Broadband is as essential as other utilities and we remain committed to connecting the county. Although 96 per cent of the county have superfast, it’s important everyone benefits from the roll out and we’re exploring innovative ways of making this happen.

We are a ‘green’ council and that extends to the economy too. Building a low-carbon industry and supporting sustainable companies are vital and we’re committed to playing our part in shaping the county’s future.

The new proposals include:

  • Supporting the Government’s Kickstart scheme by working with Leicester City Council to create 30 year-long apprenticeships across the two authorities. This is aimed at young people aged 16-24 receiving universal credit and at risk of becoming long-term unemployed – this would cost £175,000
  • Launching a new Work+ scheme to boost skills and help people secure work to run in libraries and online – this would include exploring volunteering opportunities and self-employment, improving interview techniques and accessing digital training and business support. This would cost £340,000
  • Boosting local tourism by supporting future campaigns designed to attract visitors and potential new businesses. This would cost £180,000.
  • Rolling out superfast broadband to rural areas in east Leicestershire. This would include creating wifi hubs in community facilities, working with the Government to connect the hardest to reach homes and tapping into a Government top up voucher scheme.

During the pandemic, the council has also invested over £2m supporting communities – a hospice, a homelessness service and a charity supporting young, older and vulnerable people are just three of the 160 awarded money. Hundreds of small businesses secured money through a £750,000 Business Recovery Fund and a struggling rural pubs have benefited from a £200,000 scheme.

The proposals will be considered by the council’s scrutiny commission on 25 January and the cabinet on 5 February – watch the meetings online

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