Answer: The Work and Skills Portfolio with Cabinet Member responsibility was deliberately created by this Labour Administration in 2012 as a direct response to the situation in which we found ourselves when first elected as there were notable levels of high unemployment and it was one of our manifesto commitments to tackle poverty and to raise aspiration and opportunity in Newport.
We consequently have taken significant steps to support and help local residents to find employment and have provided support to help businesses retain employees.
We have a Business Support Team that specifically offers loans and advice to local businesses and since 2012 we have supported 961 businesses with funding or advice and have also responded to 269 new business start-up enquiries. As a result 708 jobs have been created or safeguarded.
We also have a Work and Skills Team who have been successful in attracting two million pounds of private and grant investment per year which is being used across the city to help improve the qualifications and life skills of those who need the most support in order to gain entry into employment.
We are also working with businesses to help to support them in their recruitment processes so that the skill requirements they have identified have been met. We are also ensuring that all new employees who we have helped into employment are supported and offered further training during their first 6 months of employment.
We have created partnerships with other projects such as Communities First, The Friars Walk Development and the Vibrant and Viable Places Regeneration Programme, and have successfully created 240 training places for Newport residents which will ensure they will benefit from the new jobs that we anticipate will be created.
We launched the Work Based Learning Academy in December 2012. This is a resource that works with businesses and the Local Service Board partners to create work placements and employment opportunities for Newport residents and we have created over 500 opportunities since its inception.
Consequently since 2012 we have helped 3500 people to improve skills and look for work and importantly supported 1621 people into full time employment.
This year we are forecasting to support 600 residents as well as 123 young people into employment by March 2015.
The statistics clearly show that since May 2012 and until December 2014 that this city has seen the number of JSA claimants drop from 5.8% to 3.9% and the number of long term unemployed claimants has dropped from 1.5% to 1.3% .
The Centre for Cities report which assimilates data from the ten years prior to 2013 does not reflect the improvement in job opportunities and training that are now available in Newport and I hope this satisfactorily answers your question.