Skills, employment, inclusion and progression

Driving economic growth through our workforce

Why is improving skills important?

Improving skills in the North East workforce is fundamental to our economic future, underpinning our aim of driving an uplift of 100,000 jobs by 2024, and ensuring that the majority are ‘better’ jobs. The changing structure of the economy requires an effective response from early years to higher education.

We also aim to close the employment rate gap by 100% against the 2014 UK rate (72.1%), by 2024. 

Our vision is to create a fully integrated employment, skills and health system that is tailored to the specific needs of the area.

What is our vision for 2024?

Our long term vision is that the North East is a place where:

  • Individuals, regardless of age or employment status, have a good understanding of the employment opportunities available in the North East and the pathways to access them. 
  • Employers have strong links with education and training providers leading to provision that meets local needs. 
  • All partners understand the importance of skills in improving productivity and living standards, with commitment to delivering good working environments for residents.

The North East Strategic Economic Plan lays out the challenges and opportunities we face, and how we will work towards achieving this vision.

What will we deliver by 2021?

North East Ambition

Building on the success of our 2015 pilot project, we will work with schools, colleges and employers to deliver outstanding careers guidance, from primary school onwards using North East Ambition’s Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot.

The Education Challenge

We will work with partners to support school leaders, teachers and governors to reduce the gap between our best and lowest performing schools and to ambitiously aim that all students have the opportunity to be educated in good or outstanding schools.

Skills Progression

We will encourage the provision of high quality opportunities to learn through further and higher education and other providers, and increase partnership between education and employers to reduce the mismatch between skills supply and demand. Skills routes will be mapped out so that learners are clear on their options and that provision and learner choice is based on sound labour market information. 

Youth Employment

We will increase youth employment by creating and building pathways for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people into education, training and employment and helping young people understand why skills development is beneficial. You can read more about the Youth Employment Group here.

Labour Market Activation

We will encourage the commission of holistic approaches that include employers and the integration of services so people facing health barriers are fit for work, have a clearer path to career progression, and that organisational culture prioritises wellbeing to reduce excessive workload and stress. 

Connected Communities

We will increase social mobility and economic activity by working with partners to increase access to digital skills. 

Fuller Working Lives

We will reduce inactivity levels in our older workforce and help older employees develop new skills, encourage flexible employment and offer specific support to those out of the labour market. 


In the North East LEP region, our aim is to create high-quality placements which give young people the opportunity to develop the skills, confidence and knowledge that will help them to secure long term employment.

We are aiming to create themed clusters of placements and will be selecting opportunities that can be grouped together and that offer a quality experience for young people.

Latest News

Funding awarded to develop new energy systems in the North East

In conversation with Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of the International Centre for Life, about inspiring young people through careers education

Find out more about how we're ensuring all North East schools achieve the Good Careers Guidance Benchmarks by 2024.