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Learning & skills: Headlines

Giving a child the best start in life is one of the most important factors influencing educational attainment. During the first 2 years of life the brain displays a remarkable capacity to absorb information and adapt to its surroundings.

Positive early experience is therefore vital to ensure children are ready to learn, ready for school and have good life chances.

Positive early experience is shaped by a number of factors such as:

  • Sensitive attuned parenting;
  • Effects of socio-economic status;
  • The impact of high-quality early education and care.

For more information on the importance of a healthy pregnancy and infancy please see here.

A child’s attainment at school is a powerful indicator of their chances of achieving future health and economic wellbeing.

  • In Kirklees, at the end of the reception (Early Years Foundation Stage), two in three children reach a good level of development.  This is slightly lower than the England average.
  • Educational attainment at GCSE (5 A* to C GCSEs including English and Maths) in 2015/16 in Kirklees was 55.6%, slightly higher than the national average (53.5%).
  • There is inequality in GCSE attainment. For those living in the most deprived areas of Kirklees, significantly fewer students achieve five or more GCSE grades A*-C including English and Maths compared with students living in the least deprived areas.
  • Girls’ attainment is higher than boys throughout all stages of formal education up to 16 years of age.
  • A complex pattern of inequalities exists between different ethnic groups, different communities and different schools.
  • Levels of persistent absence (pupils with 85% attendance or less) reduced from 4.5% in 2011/12 to 3.6% in 2014/15.
  • Almost one in four 16 to 18 year olds achieved grades AAB or better at A level, which is higher than the national average.
  • The number of 16 and 17year olds who participate in learning has increased over time, and in 2016 was 92.2%.
  • Almost one in 10 16-17 year olds in Kirklees were undertaking an apprenticeship via the National Apprenticeship Service.
  • One in nine people of working age (16-64 year olds) in Kirklees have no qualifications, which is more than the Yorkshire and Humber and England averages.  Furthermore, fewer than one in three people are educated to NVQ level 4 and above, which is lower than the England average.

Learning & skills: Why is this issue important?

A skilled workforce enables businesses to compete regionally, nationally and globally, which creates a stronger and more resilient economy. Skills are the biggest determinant of success for cities, and are critical to achieving economic wellbeing.

A child’s physical, social, and cognitive development during the early years strongly influences their school readiness and educational attainment, economic participation and health. Higher educational attainment is associated with healthier behaviour during childhood and into adult life (1). People with low educational attainment are more likely to experience disadvantage throughout their lives across a wide range of issues including income, employment, housing, healthy behaviours and health. Educational attainment is a strong predictor of life expectancy and disability free life (1).

The following sections review educational attainment across the life course from age 5 to workplace and lifelong learning.

Early Years Foundation Stage (age five)

At the end of Reception (Early Years Foundation Stage) in 2015/16, 66.9% of children in Kirklees reached a good level of development, which is lower than the England average (69.3%). There is also a difference between boy and girls, 58.5% and 75.8% respectively (2). At a local level (comparing District Committees), the inequalities between children reaching a good level of development continues to narrow - from 14% in 2014/15 to 8% in 2015/2016 (2).

There is a significant difference between the proportion of children who qualify for free school meals who attained a good level of development (50.8%) and those who don’t qualify for free school meals (66.9%) (2).

Key Stage 4 (age 16)

At Key stage 4 in 2015/16, 55.6% of pupils achieved five or more GCSEs grades A*-C including English and Maths, slightly higher than the national average of 53.5%. This result also compares well with the average for Yorkshire and the Humber (55.7%) (3). Despite this, there is a considerable social gradient in GCSE attainment. For those children living in Kirklees in areas defined as the most deprived 20% in England, significantly fewer will achieve five or more GCSEs grades A*-C including English and Maths compared to those living in the least deprived 20% (43% and 74% respectively). Similar to the national trend, there is gender difference in GCSE attainment; a greater proportion of girls (63%) achieve five or more GCSEs grades A*-C including English and maths compared to boys (50.5%).

 

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Almost all pupils (98.2%) left Key Stage 4 with at least one qualification in 2016, similar to the national level (97.5%) (3).

Levels of persistent absence (pupils with 85% attendance or less) reduced from 4.5% in 2011/12 to 3.6% in 2014/15 (4) and there was provision of alternative full-time education for pupils who are excluded from school. There is a strong relationship between levels of deprivation and rates of persistent absence from school.  

Participation aged 16-17

In 2015/16, 12.8% of Kirklees students achieved 3 A*- A grades or better at A level, which is below the national average of 13.2% (5). However, almost one in four (23.1%) 16 to 18 year olds achieved grades AAB or better, which is higher than the national average of 22.1% (5).

The number of 16 and 17-year olds who participate in learning in Kirklees has increased. In March 2012, participation was 88.4% (compared to 87.1% in England overall) and in March 2016 participation was 92.2% (compared to 91.5% in England overall) (6). Numbers of young people aged 16-18 known to not be in education, employment or training (NEET) in August 2015 was 5.7%, compared to 7.2% in August 2013 (7).

The proportion of 16-17 year olds with special educational needs and disabilities recorded in education and training in March 2016 in Kirklees was 87.7%, identical to the England average (6). There is very little difference between ethnic groups in the proportion of 16-17 year olds recorded to be in education and training (6).

Attainment at age 19

The attainment of Level 2 (5 or more GCSE’s) and Level 3 (A-levels) of young people who attended Kirklees schools shows a more complex picture. The attainment of Level 2 for 16 year olds was 2.3% lower than regional and 2.8% lower than national averages. However, data shows that young people achieving Level 2 (either a vocational qualification or GCSE) at 19 was 86.7%. This was above the regional average (84.4%) and national average (85.2%). Therefore 22.1% of learners gained this vital benchmark between the age of 16 and 19 compared to 17.4% regionally and 17.7% nationally (8).

The gap in attainment of Level 2 at age 19 for those eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) (13.7%) is significantly lower than at regional (19.8%) and national level (16.5%). The attainment gap for young people eligible for FSM achieving Level 2 including English and Maths is also lower in Kirklees than regionally and nationally: Kirklees 24%; Y&H 30.1%; England 26.5% (8).  

Achievement at Level 3 at age 19 has improved from 45.4% in 2007/08 to 59.4% in 2014/15 which is above the regional figures (54.9.7%) and the national figures (58.7%). The attainment gap for young people eligible for FSM achieving level 3 at age19 (21.7%) is below the regional figures (27.2%) and the national figures (24.6%) (8).

Apprenticeships

In March 2016, 9.5% of 16-17 year olds in Kirklees were undertaking an apprenticeship that had been commissioned and delivered through the National Apprenticeship Service. This is greater than the Yorkshire and the Humber average (7.5%) and the England average (5.8%) (6).

Unlike the  Leeds City Region (LCR) average (26%), only 20% of firms in Kirklees take on university graduates (9). Kirklees has a higher proportion of businesses taking on apprentices, school-leavers and unemployed individuals than the LCR (9); however, this is still only 28% of businesses.

Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)

Since 2015, young people completing Year 11 have been required to remain in learning until the end of the school year in which they turn 18 years of age. They have the choice of the following post-16 options:

  • Full-time education, such as school, college or home education.
  • An apprenticeship.
  • Part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering full-time.

This is a mandatory requirement but is not enforced, which impacts on the number of young people who are NEET. This means that there are still some young people in Kirklees who are choosing not to continue in learning beyond the age of 16, or are dropping out of learning between the ages of 16 and 18.  It appears that raising the participation age does not mean young people are staying in school for longer.

It is anticipated that those currently at risk of becoming NEET will still be those at risk of not participating once the changes take effect, due to lack of enforcement.

NEET at 16 years old amongst the looked after children cohort has improved from 50% in 2009 to 7% in 2016. Beyond this transition point, NEET amongst 17-21 year old care leavers remains high, both locally and nationally. The key reason seems to be the difficulty faced by 18+ care leavers in balancing the demands of holding down a job, course or program of training with those of living independently (10).

For the year 2015/2016, The Department for Education identified that there were 55% NEET care leavers (including 26% ‘not knowns’) amongst 17 and 18 year olds and 54% NEET care leavers amongst 19, 20 and 21 year olds (11).

For the year 2015/2016 in Kirklees 40% of 16 and 17 year old young offenders, with a youth offending team order were identified as NEET and 69% of teenage mothers were identified as NEET (12).

Accurate recording of the employment or learning status of young people is vital.   All young people whose current activity cannot be confirmed is recorded as ‘not known’ until their current activity is re-established.  High numbers of young people recorded as “not known” can disguise the fact that they are not participating or NEET, hence the DE’s combined NEET and not known figures.

 The chart above shows that the number of NEET/not known young people in Kirklees currently averages around 4.5% (12). This is a lower rate than our statistical neighbours, Yorkshire and Humber and England (5.5%) .

Non-participation in learning increases linearly from 16 years of age and beyond. Health outcomes  for young people who are not engaged in learning are likely to be poorer. Evidence shows that if a young person is not participating in learning post 16, they are less likely to progress beyond 18 years of age into good work outcomes (1).

Higher Level Skills

In Kirklees, around 29.4% of people of working age (16-64) are educated to NVQ level 4 and above (2016 data) which is in line with the Yorkshire and Humber average , but below the England average (38.2%) (13). The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has estimated the proportion of young people who progressed into higher education by age 19 between 2005/06 and the 2010/11 academic year. Although some caution is needed in relation to the age of the data, this is the most recent analysis provided by HEFCE and it provides an overview of Higher Education participation, relative to the national picture. Overall, higher education participation in Kirklees (33%) was broadly in line with the national picture (35%). At parliamentary constituency level, the Batley and Spen area has the lowest level on participation in Kirklees, (27%) (14). For comparison, estimated participation in Yorkshire and the Humber is 30%.  The development of Dewsbury Learning Quarter (which incorporates the Pioneer Centre focussing on higher level skills training, apprenticeships and workforce development) and the Springfield Sixth Form Centre which will focus on skills development for young people with a range of courses which will prepare them for the world of work will help to address this imbalance in North Kirklees wards. 

Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reveals that in 2014/15, 11,700 students with a Kirklees domicile were enrolled on a higher education course in the UK. Three quarters of students with a Kirklees domicile (permanent home address)  who were in employment six months after graduating, were employed in Yorkshire and the Humber; with only 5% employed in London (HESA).

Enrolments into universities in the Leeds City Region (LCR) fell by 7% in the 2012/13  academic year to 116,400 students.  Since then, the level of enrolments has remained stable, with the latest figure for 2014/15 standing at 116,260 (HESA).  The University of Huddersfield is the third largest higher education provider in the region (behind the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University) and as of the 2015/2016 academic year, there were 19,000 students enrolled.

Workplace Learning and Lifelong Learning

For more detailed information on lifelong learning in Kirklees, please see the People Helping People chapter of the JSA – with particular reference to the Lifelong Community Learning section.

The Employer Skills Survey (ESS 2015) conducted by the UK commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) provides data at Local Authority level on a range of employer skills indicators including vacancies, skills shortages and skills gaps. The ESS 2015 indicated that skills gaps are not as prevalent within Kirklees (15%), when compared with LCR (17%) and England (14%) (15). This may also be partly due to the balance of sector employment within Kirklees and the lower demand for high level skills within Kirklees, relative to LCR and England.

Many factors impact on workplace learning. These include: availability of training budgets, increased employer investment in skills, workplace culture and capacity; understanding the benefits of skills and how these link to business growth, employee factors, such as an individual’s prior experience of learning and access to information, advice and guidance about training. The numbers of adults taking up learning and skills opportunities outside the workplace is also affected by the availability of opportunities, fees and levels of support available. 7% of establishments have at least one vacancy that is hard to fill. This is slightly lower than the 8% Leeds City Region and England average (9) and may be due, in part, to the nature of the low skilled nature of the Kirklees economy.

In the future, specific difficulties lie in relation to meeting replacement demand alongside forecasted job growth. 48,500 Kirklees residents are due to retire in the next 10 years.  However, projections of replacement demand suggest an overall requirement close to 70,000 for Kirklees.  This is specifically in professional occupations, skilled trades in engineering and manufacturing, construction, health and social care and digital and creative sectors (16).

Learning & skills: What significant factors are affecting this issue?

A wide range of interacting factors impact on a child’s educational attainment. These include:

  • Social factors, such as parental income, education and socio-economic status, postnatal depression, parental education, parental support and parent/child relationships.
  • School/peer factors, such as the status of the school and its population.
  • Other determinants of health, including low birth weight, being read to every day, attendance at school, having a regular bed time at age three and the natural ability of the child at baseline.

The most significant of these is the socio-economic status of the family (1).

Those factors which influence participation of 16-18 year olds are the same as those that influence participation in those under 16.  According to C&K Careers  (http://www.ckcareers.co.uk/) young people who are unlikely to engage post-16 are likely to display some of the following factors:

  • Poor achievement at school pre-16.
  • Have a history of school exclusion or poor attendance at school.
  • Are on an alternative curriculum.
  • Have home or care issues.
  • Are teenage parents or pregnant teenagers.
  • Are supervised by youth offending teams.
  • Have substance misuse problems.
  • Are looked after or are care leavers.

Learning & skills: Which groups are most affected by this issue?

 Ethnicity

At the Early Years Foundation Stage, pupils of Asian Pakistani heritage were the lowest performing group, with 60.3% achieving the expected level compared with 70.2% for white pupils (academic year 2015/16) (17). However, by the end of secondary school, trends were improving for this group with almost half of all pupils (48.6%) attaining five or more A* - C GCSEs, including English and Maths (academic year 2015/16) (17). These figures remain lower than the national average for Asian Pakistani heritage pupils and lower than the average for all pupils. Exactly half (50%) of mixed white and black Caribbean heritage pupils achieved the expected level compared with 63.5% of white British heritage pupils.

Low income

For pupils eligible for free school meals, educational attainment was lower across all key stages. In 2015/2016 just over half of pupils who were eligible for free school meals were achieving a good level of development at the end of reception (school readiness), which compares to 66.9% for pupils without free school meals (2). In the same period, 31% of pupils who were eligible for free school meals achieved 5 or more GCSEs of grades A*-C (including English and Maths), compared to 63% for pupils without free school meals (17).

Looked after children

In 2016, 22.9% of looked after children (continuously for 12 months or more) achieved grade A*-C in both English and Mathematics GCSEs. This compares to 15.8% across Yorkshire and Humber and 17.5% nationally (18).

For more information on looked after children please see the vulnerable children section.

Low skilled employees in low skilled jobs

 
Individuals who are low or no skilled generally find it harder to understand the benefits of investing in their own skills development. This can result in a lack of motivation to access and pay for training and development (19).  There is also evidence that these individuals are generally employed in lower wage jobs and that their employers are less likely to invest in their workforce (20).  This means that their employees aren’t able to participate in workplace training and have to access training outside of working hours.

In 2016, 11.2% of the working age population (16-64 year olds) in Kirklees were estimated to have no qualifications, which equates to 30,600 people (13). Of this group, an estimated 36% were unemployed (21). This means there could be as many as 11,000 working residents without qualifications in Kirklees who are struggling to access the training they need to enable them to become socially mobile.

Learning & skills: Where is this causing greatest concern?

Educational attainment at school:

  • At the early years foundation stage Batley and Spen has a lower proportion of Reception age pupils who are reaching a good level of development compared to the Kirklees average.
  • In 2015/2016, significantly fewer pupils from Ashbrow and Dewsbury West wards attained 5 or more GCSE grades A*-C (including English and Maths), compared to the Kirklees average.

NEET:

  • At the beginning of July 2017 the wards of Newsome, Dewsbury East, Dewsbury West, Dalton, Crossland Moor and Netherton, Batley East and Asbrow accounted for more than half of all 16 to 18 year olds who were NEET. The three wards with the highest proportion of NEET were Newsome (56 young people 9.9%), Dewsbury East (69, 9.9%) and Dewsbury West (97, 9.5%) whilst NEET was lowest in the more rural wards of Denby Dale (10, 1.9%), Kirkburton (10, 2.1%) and Holme Valley South (15, 2.2%).
  • In addition to geographical hotspots, risk factors are used to identify and support young people who are currently in school (younger than 16) who might be become NEET according to a series of Risk of NEET Indicators (RONI). This includes young people on alternative provision, looked after children, young offenders, pregnant/teenage parents, young carers, young people with a statement or Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP), poor attendance, expecting to achieve low grade in GCSE English and Special Educational Needs and Disabiliy (SEND) statemented (including school action/school action plus or a MY Support Plan).

Risk factors are also used to identify and support young people aged over 16 who are still in education but are at risk of dropping out. This includes poor attendance, where a young person is seeking an apprenticeship but have progressed to college/sixth form as a second choice, behavioural problems, concerns about aspirations, confidence issues and home and family issues.

Learning & skills: What are the assets around the issue?

Assets are hugely important in how individuals and businesses are able to access support and engage in learning, skills development, research and development. The learning environment and content and delivery of learning affect an individual’s ability to engage in lifelong learning and invest in skills.  Similarly, for businesses, the relevance and accessibility of services from learning providers affects their ability to engage and take advantage of opportunities open to them.

The following Learning, Skills and NEET assets enhance the ability of individuals, businesses and providers to build awareness of, increase access to and engage in skills and research development. These include things like skills, capacity, knowledge, networks and connections, the effectiveness of groups and organisations and local physical and economic resources. They also include services or interventions that are already being provided or beginning to emerge which contribute towards improved skills and employment outcomes.

There are 180+ schools in Kirklees providing learning from age 0-19 as well as considerable facilities used by local communities and groups. The Schools have a combined budget in excess of £300m and employ a large number of people (5,000 plus) many of whom are residents in the district. Kirklees schools contribute successfully to the achievement of the Kirklees shared outcomes and young people achieve outcomes at key stage 4 (GCSE stage) which are generally in line with national averages. The number of Schools graded good or outstanding by Ofsted is above national average.

The post 16 learning settings in Kirklees are highly effective. 80%+ of young people attend either Greenhead College, Huddersfield New College or Kirklees College with the rest attending sixth form provision in Schools or private training providers. The three institutions alone have a combined budget in excess of £90m and make a significant contribution to the local economy. Young people achieve above national average in post 16 provision in both academic and vocational routes. Importantly, there is a narrowing of the attainment gap for vulnerable learners compared the Kirklees average.

Recent and ongoing capital investment at Kirklees College  has created state of the art learning facilities.  Rooms are fitted with the latest IT or industry spec equipment which creates an engaging learning environment and the teaching and learning at the site is good and partially outstanding. The College has strong links with industry, ensuring that their learning curriculum meets current and future economic needs and enables individuals taking part in learning the best opportunity to secure a job in the labour market.  Examples of the purpose built facilities can be found here:
  • Peter Jones Academy http://www.pjea.org.uk/
  • St Andrews Road Engineering and Process Manufacturing Centre (https://www.kirkleescollege.ac.uk/the-college/our-centres/engineering-centre/ and https://www.kirkleescollege.ac.uk/the-college/our-centres/process-manufacturing-centre).
  • Dewsbury Learning Quarter provides state-of-the-art facilities across two very different but complementary sites. The Springfield Sixth form Centre will focus on skills development for young people with a range of courses which will prepare them for the world of work and higher education and the Pioneer Centre which will provide higher level provision for adults including access courses, apprenticeships and workforce development (https://www.kirkleescollege.ac.uk/dlq/).   
  • There are a range of learning providers who offer specialist skills and training which provides young people and adults with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the local, regional and national economy. Examples of providers who are delivering sector specific activity include; Creative and Media Studio School (http://www.studio-school.org.uk), Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre (http://www.fourteen19.co.uk/our-work/kirklees-youth-enterprise-centre) and the Textile Centre of Excellence (http://textilehouse.co.uk/).
  • The University of Huddersfield https://www.hud.ac.uk/  has over 23,000 students from over 120 countries.  It has been successful in achieving a number of awards, most recently the HEA Global Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award. The University provides the opportunity for individuals to study and undertake advance research, innovation and collaboration.  It hosts up to 70 research institutes which are of regional, national and global relevance such as the Institute for Rail Research and the Centre for High Performance Computing.   A full list of the institutes can be found here.
  • The purpose-built 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (http://www.3mbic.com/) facilitates business growth and encourages business to academia collaboration through an innovation led business model.  The centre provides specialist facilities and services to businesses and offers flexible working space that can accommodate businesses from start-ups to large corporates from a variety of sectors.
  • There are over 16,000 businesses in Kirklees, of which 99% of them are micro, small and medium enterprises. Kirklees Council provides free on-line services to business via Business Hub Kirklees (http://www.kirkleesbusinesshub.com/).  At the site businesses can; find out about and apply for grants and funding, get notifications about contracts and tender opportunities, access free advice from local experts in marketing, finance and legal services, profile their company and its services and interact with other Hub members.
In addition, Kirklees also benefits a good range of employer representative bodies and networks such as the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce (https://www.mycci.co.uk/), Calderdale and Kirklees Manufacturing Alliance (https://www.ckma.co.uk/) and the Federation of Small Businesses (https://www.fsb.org.uk/).  Working with our partners to undertake research and shared information enables us to extend our reach and better meet the need of local businesses.

Kirklees Council and partners are committed to supporting lifelong learning in all communities and there is a thriving and vibrant Community Learning Trust, a group of public and third sector community organisations working together to bring a wide range of community learning opportunities to the district. Community learning contributes to jobs and growth as well as improving health and wellbeing, tackling poverty and building strong and sustainable communities. It provides opportunities for local people, families and communities to build the skills and confidence to be successful in learning.

Community Learning Works is a partnership project between the Council, the third sector and other mainstream learning providers which supports people who face the most significant challenges and are furthest away from the job market to progress towards and into employment.

Views of local businesses

In 2015, as part of the Leeds City Region Business Survey 2015 over 1,000 businesses were interviewed to provide a snapshot view of business confidence, investment experiences and intentions (20). Some of the results relating to learning, skills and NEET are as follows:

  • 8% of firms in Kirklees cited availability of skilled labour as a barrier to growth, a similar proportion to the LCR.
  • Labour costs and retention of skilled labour were the 4th most cited barrier to over business growth
  • Financial services, manufacturing and construction were the sectors with highest numbers of firms citing skilled labour as a barrier
  • A quarter of Kirklees firms employed a person aged over 50 and 20% a recent university graduate these were both lower than the LCR overall
  • 28% of Kirklees firms employed an apprentice and 48% an unemployed person both higher than the LCR overall
  • 39% of firms employed a recent school leaver the same proportion as the LCR overall
  • A quarter of firms expected to take on an apprentice and this proportion was higher for both manufacturing and larger firms

 Views of children and young people

There is limited recent insight from children and young people around learning, skills and NEET. In 2011, the Children’s Trust Board were keen to include a young people’s priority in the Children & Young People’s Plan. Members of Kirklees Youth Council (supported by workers from the Involving Young Citizens Equally Team) carried out a short consultation exercise, using a questionnaire to help them gather the views of almost 700 children and young people from across Kirklees.   The main priority which was identified was Jobs, Opportunities and Money.

The key messages from children and young people about Jobs, Opportunities and Money were:

  • Concern over the lack of jobs;
  • Create volunteering/work experience opportunities;
  • Support for young people leaving school, including financial assistance to continue in further education;
  • Provide courses to equip young people with skills to look for jobs ;
  • Better careers advice;
  • Support local businesses employing young people;
  • Not having money and the cost of activities prevent young people from taking part;
  • The cost of travel can prohibit young people taking part in activities.

Learning & skills: What could commissioners and service planners consider?

  •  Commissioners, planners and providers should refer to the Kirklees Economic Strategy to gain a detailed insight into the Kirklees vision to create wealth and revenue streams that will enable quality service provision, enhance the district, and help to reduce inequalities into the future.
  • Proactively engage with the private, voluntary and independent childcare sector to support integration and transition between early learning and school settings.
  • Continue to improve the universal provision of educational opportunities for all children and young people, whilst targeting resources at specific groups based on need.
  • Develop a strong early intervention and prevention focus. This would ensure the root causes of poor attainment could be addressed and specific groups who are not reaching their full potential would be identified early and supported appropriately.
  • Continue the success already seen in reducing the variation between schools and groups. The development of school to school support and intervention should be targeted at schools likely to underperform.
  • Ensure that the views of children and young people are sought as part of any planning and delivery process.
  • Ensure that good quality, impartial information, advice and guidance is available to young people and adults.
  • Targeted early intervention with those at risk of NEET pre-16 and those who are engaged in learning but are at risk of dropping out.
  • The provision of flexible learning opportunities such as volunteering, support to young people in jobs without training, apprenticeships and flexible starts (throughout the calendar year) in post-16 learning.
  • Ensure that young people are able to access employability skills through work experience and work related learning.
  • Develop post-16 progression planning and pathways in order to ensure that young people are able to progress and follow relevant learning programmes.
  • Support young people to have the necessary English and Maths skills.
  • Delivering a clear message to business, highlighting the benefits of investing in the workforce and how this links to business growth and resilience.
  • Working with strategic partners to develop a network of workplace learning advocates who create the right culture for learning.
  • Working with our employment and skills providers to provide clear information and advice for individuals and business.
  • Working with our strategic partners to develop an integrated employment and skills offer which supports people into employment and enables those in work to progress.

Learning & skills: References

    1. Marmot, M. Fair Society, Healthy Lives: Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010. Available from: http://www.marmot-review.org.uk/
    2. Department for Education (DfE), Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Profile statistical series [Internet]. 2016. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/early-years-foundation-stage-profile-results-2015-to-2016
    3. Department for Education (DfE), Revised GCSE and equivalent results in England: 2015 to 2016 [Internet]. 2017. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/revised-gcse-and-equivalent-results-in-england-2015-to-2016
    4. Kirklees Council. School Census 2016
    5. Department for Education (DfE), A level and other 16 to 18 results: 2015 to 2016 (revised) [Internet]. 2017. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/a-level-and-other-16-to-18-results-2015-to-2016-revised
    6. Department for Education (DfE), Participation in education and training: local authority figures [Internet]. 2016. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/participation-in-education-and-training-by-local-authority
    7. Department for Education (DfE), NEET data by local authority [Internet]. 2016. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/neet-data-by-local-authority-2012-16-to-18-year-olds-not-in-education-employment-or-training
    8. Strategic Needs Assessment 2017.
    9. UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Employer Survey 2015 [Internet]. 2016. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/ukces-employer-skills-survey-2015
    10. National Audit Office, Care leavers’ transition to adulthood [Internet]. 2015. Available from: https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Care-leavers-transition-to-adulthood.pdf
    11. Department for Education (DfE), Children looked after in England including adoption: 2015 to 2016 [Internet]. 2016. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2015-to-2016
    12. Calderdale and Kirklees Careers Client Caseload Information System (CCIS).
    13. Annual Population Survey [Internet]. 2016. Available from: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/articles/932.aspx
    14. Higher Education Funding Council for England [internet]. 2012. www.hefce.ac.uk/polar
    15. UKCES Employer Skills Survey 2015: UK report [internet]. 2016. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukces-employer-skills-survey-2015-uk-report
    16. Department for Education (DfE), What works re-engaging young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET)? Summary of evidence from the activity agreement pilots and the entry to learning pilots [Internet]. 2010. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/182022/DFE-RR065.pdf
    17. Foundation stage Profile and Key Stage 4. Kirklees Council. 2016.
    18. Department for Education (DfE), Outcomes for children looked after by LAs: 31 March 2016 [Internet]. 2017 Outcomes for children looked after by LAs: 31 March 2016 Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/outcomes-for-children-looked-after-by-las-31-march-2016
    19. More Jobs, Better Jobs. Joseph Rowntree Foundation [online]. 2014. Available from: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/more-jobs-better-jobs
    20. Leeds city region business survey 2015. Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and BMG Research [online]. 2015. Available from: http://www.the-lep.com/LEP/media/New/Research%20and%20publications/LCR-Business-survey-2015-final-pres.pptx
    21. Kirklees Council, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, NHS North Kirklees CCG. Current Living in Kirklees Survey. 2016.

Learning & skills: Date this section was last reviewed:

08/12/2017 (AF)

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Work & worklessness: Headlines

Being in work is a key component of mental and physical wellbeing. However, jobs that are insecure, low paid and that fail to protect employees from stress and danger are associated with illness and disease. Unemployment has both short and long-term effects on mental and physical health, including premature death. The number of people unemployed for more than 12 months in Kirklees rose by 84% between October 2010 and October 2012.

The impact of poor health or disability on a person’s likelihood of finding and keeping a job is significant. Around 20% of Kirklees’ working age population, more than 50,000 people, have a disability of some sort. Of these, only 60% have a job, compared to 76% of those without a disability; the rate for people with a mental health problem is even lower (40%). This effect can be mitigated by educational qualifications.

Nearly 20,500 adults are not in work and are claiming benefits based on their illness or disability, 2 in 3 (62%) have been on the benefit for more than five years and nearly half are claiming because of a mental health problem.

Unemployment amongst young people is rising, whilst 2 in 3 (60%) employers locally report that they do not employ any people aged under 25 years.

Work & worklessness: Why is this issue important?

Patterns of employment both reflect and reinforce the social gradient. The level of income inequality in a society is associated with the level of health inequality, even after controlling for smoking and drinking. People’s experience of good work is linked to positive health outcomes, however jobs that are insecure, low paid and that fail to protect employees from stress and danger, make people ill1 (p.72). Unemployment has both short and long-term effects on mental and physical health, including premature death. Being made redundant has an immediate negative impact on a person’s health, and the longer someone is unemployed the worse these negative effects become. Unemployment affects health in three ways:

  • Causing financial problems leading to lower living standards.
  • Triggering stress, anxiety and depression, caused by loss of status and social participation.
  • Increasing unhelpful coping behaviours such as smoking and alcohol consumption and decreased physical activity1.

Returning to work can be good for health, reversing the harmful effects of long-term unemployment and prolonged sickness absence2.

Work & worklessness: What significant factors are affecting this issue?

  • Abolition of default retirement age. The default retirement age has been abolished making it unlawful for an organisation to compel an employee to retire. This will result in changes to the way employers need to manage their workforce and potentially reduce the number of jobs for younger people.
  • Underemployment. As the number of unemployed people has increased over the period of economic downturn many of these people have had to secure employment, which is insufficient for the level they require. For example, individuals have had to take part-time work or are overqualified for the jobs they have been able to secure.
  • Temporary/contract workers. Over the period of the economic downturn many employers have increasingly opted for temporary and part-time working arrangements and reduced training budgets. This can have a negative impact on the delivery of workplace skills resulting in a “skills plateau” and associated reduction in productivity.

Impact of the recession on Kirklees2

  • Fewer jobs for young people. The number of unemployed 18-24 year olds increased by 1,680 between October 2010 and October 2012. 60% of employers in Kirklees did not employ any workers aged under 25 years. The long-term impact on young people of unemployment and a low likelihood of finding a job is far more significant than among older people and could seriously impact on their mental and physical health.
  • Older workers leaving the job market. Unemployment among people aged over 50 increased by 98% over the same period. Among people aged over 60, the increase was nearer 210%. Many people in this age group are unlikely to work again.
  • Between October 2010 and October 2012, the most significant reductions in the number of Kirklees residents in work were in the construction, IT, public administration, business administration and education sectors.
  • The number of people unemployed for more than 12 months increased by nearly 150% between October 2010 and October 2012.
  • As jobs are lost and not replaced, the pressure on those in work increases. The drive for employers to do more with less in an uncertain labour market is likely to result in increased stress levels within their workforce, many of whom may also have taken a cut in pay, making it harder to live healthy lives.

Work & worklessness: Which groups are most affected by this issue?

Unemployment rates for people with a disability are around double of those with no limiting health problems. Almost 40% of adults with mental health conditions are unemployed. The extent to which limiting illness and disability act as a barrier to work is highly dependent on educational qualifications; nationally 1 in 3 men with no qualifications and a limiting longstanding illness were in employment, whilst for those with higher qualifications it is 3 in 41. A breakdown of those people of working age in Kirklees, who are claiming Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance (IB/ESA), shows the main two conditions reported were:

  • Mental and behavioural disorders (reported by 42% of all claimants) and diseases of the musculoskeletal system (18% of claimants).
  • 62% of claimants had been claiming these benefits for more than five years2.
  • Manufacturing businesses. Despite its historic decline, in recent years we have seen increased demand in the higher skilled engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors. Priority has to be placed on local education and training providers to provide a pipeline of apprentices if the sector is to avoid acute skill shortages in areas of strength such as textiles, turbo, valve and gearing. This requires schools to promote the benefits of vocational pathways as an alternative to academic routes.
  • Working residents with no/low qualifications. Individuals who are in low skilled jobs may suffer from a lack of awareness about the benefits of acquiring new skills and how this relates to improvements in health, wellbeing and lifetime earnings potential.
  • Working poor. Whilst poverty is often associated with the unemployed there are a number of working people whose incomes fall below the poverty line. Individuals and households affected are often unable to provide the basic necessities and are led into making difficult choices about how they spend their income e.g. making a choice between putting food on the table or heating their home and this can lead to poor health.

Work & worklessness: Where is this causing greatest concern?

There is a link between poor health and socio-economic deprivation. The most disadvantaged parts of Kirklees, inner Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Batley, also have the largest number of ESA/IB claimants. Across Kirklees, 7% of working age residents (nearly 18,000 people) claim ESA/IB. In Deighton, Dewsbury East and West, rates are more than 10% but in the more affluent populations of rural and suburban South Kirklees for example, the Holme Valley and Kirkburton, claim rates were half the Kirklees average.

As well as the individuals affected directly by poor health, there is also a significant impact on the rest of the family. Overall, in Kirklees, about 3,260 adults receive Carer’s Allowance – a claim rate of 1.3% of the working age population. In Crosland Moor, Dewsbury West and Thornhill, the rate increases to 2.2%.

Work & worklessness: What could commissioners and service planners consider?

  • Promoting a clear message to businesses highlighting the benefits of investing in the workforce and how this links to business growth and resilience.
  • Promoting the benefits of better health at work practices to businesses for example increased productivity and reduced staff sickness levels.
  • Enabling the working poor to understand the benefits of training, developing skills and increasing personal resilience.
  • Providing effective support to young adults and people with health problems or disabilities – this may require more creative solutions than have been tried previously.
  • How to enable people who have not worked for a long time to be ready for work, and enabling those for whom paid work is unlikely to be a realistic option in the near future to participate in appropriate purposeful activity.
  • The Boorman review has recognised the importance of staff wellbeing in the NHS and made recommendations which can be applied across the public sector3.
  • The Local Authority and NHS are Kirklees’ largest employers and should actively promote and support local labour market initiatives.

Work & worklessness: References

  1. Marmot M. Fair Society, Healthy Lives: Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England Post 2010. 2010. Available from: http://www.marmot-review.org.uk/
  2. Kirklees Council. Kirklees Local Economic Assessment 2012. Available from: http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/business/economicassessment/economicassessment.shtm
  3. Boorman Dr S. NHS Health and Wellbeing. Department of Health, 2009.

Work & worklessness: Date this section was last reviewed

09/07/2013 (PL)