Surrey County Council works with Jobcentre Plus to offer LEPs

Surrey County Council has joined forces with Jobcentre Plus to offer work opportunities to the most disadvantaged.

The council has pledged to offer Local Employment Partnership (LEP) opportunities, including work trials, work experience, mentoring and job interviews for the long-term unemployed and those who find it more difficult to secure work.

Carmel Millar, head of HR at the council, told Personnel Today: “I think it’s absolutely the duty of local government and local authorities to be a catalyst within their areas to improve job chances for local people.

“The strategy makes sense from the point of view that councils need future skilled workforces and local people need jobs. It’s a win-win scenario.”

But the council added it was too early to say how many opportunities would be made available through the scheme as it was still in talks with Jobcentre Plus.

Thousands of employers across the country have already signed up to offer job opportunities through LEPs, including McDonald’s and Morrisons which have taken on 300 and 4,000 people respectively through these schemes.

Andrew Povey, leader of the council, added: “As a major employer in Surrey, this agreement means we will be helping those most disadvantaged in the labour market to develop skills to increase their employment prospects.”

The news follows Surrey council’s commitment to co-ordinate the creation of 350 jobs, training or work experience opportunities for unemployed 18- to 24-year-olds across the country, as part of the government’s Future Jobs Fund.

In the Budget, chancellor Alistair Darling revealed he would extend the Future Jobs Fund until March 2012.

The government has a target of creating 250,000 jobs through LEPs by next month.

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