For regions like the North East, strengthening the employment rate is a key indicator of the sustainability of economic growth. Our vision is to create a fully integrated employment, skills and health system that is tailored to the specific needs of the area.
The primary aims of this system is to improve the number of residents moving from benefit dependency into work and to support health at work. By 2024, our headline ambition is to close the employment rate gap by 100% against the 2014 UK rate (72.1%).
Our objective is to ensure that economic growth benefits the whole of the region by delivering an increase in the number of people who are employed, or actively looking to be employed, and closing the gap in performance with the national average.
Target: Close the gap in the employment rate for people aged 16-64 by 50% by 2024
This target was set out to be achieved by 2024. In December 2016, the gap between the North East LEP area and England excluding London had reduced by 35%.
You can view the progress on all targets here.
Maintaining our employment base while the working age population is falling suggests the need for a comprehensive strategy to encourage economic activity, with people working for longer, the reduction of unemployment and the identification of new sources of labour in order to support employment growth. The current support system is insufficiently flexible at a local level with little opportunity for tailored and targeted approaches. National commissioning is fragmented, leading to a lack of alignment of provision at a local level and this is compounded by a lack of data and no consistent approach to measure impact and effectiveness.
By delivering the following support programmes, we are attempting to improve the system at a local level.