Agenda item

Intelligence from Key Businesses

Graham Metcalfe – DWP

-       Questions and Answers from Members


Richard Locke-Wheaton/ Karen Leeman – Linkage Community Trust

-       Questions and Answers from Members


Lincoln College

-       Questions and Answers from Members


Farhan Ahmed – Lincoln University

-       Questions and Answers from Members



Graham Metcalfe, Local Partnership Manager at the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions):-


·         Explained that people who were in full time education were disqualified from claiming an out of work benefit if they were already receiving any other kind of benefit entitlement.

·         Advised that the DWP offered part time courses to provide more career opportunities. They could be varied or amended to ensure that the correct information was given and received.

·         Stated that in regards to accessing training, there was a customer base of 10,000. Six thousand people received support allowance and over half were on benefits.

·         Highlighted that the partnership with the City of Lincoln Council had helped in terms of eligibility as a lot of services had been visited in one place. The DWP would also look for opportunities to use their facilities for interviews.

·         Further advised that there had been suggestions around regeneration in the Lincoln area in regards to construction training. In the past, of the 60 students that had completed the training, 65% of them gained employment. Planning applications and Section 106 agreements would benefit local businesses. Tesco successfully filled 100 vacancies through this process.


Invited Members’ questions and comments.


Question: In regards to the Section 106 agreement helping businesses gain employment, was this an idea or was it already in place?


Response: Tesco had been successful in employing people this way. If the DWP were shown the details they could look to do something similar.


Question: In regards to the Section 106, was it happening at other local authorities?


Response: If it was to take place over a wider area local residents could benefit.


Question: Were employers willing to take on ex-offenders?


Response: They were the hardest people to place. If there was a skills gap it could be possible. Employers such as Siemens were known to be sympathetic towards this.


Question: What cross boundary opportunities were there for ex-offenders?


Response: The DWP provided a pre-release service however not everyone who had been released from prison resided in Lincoln.


Question: where had the short courses taken place and had it helped?


Response: Yes, it had put people in a better position for employment.


Question: Did the Job Centre let people know about career opportunities?


Response: The Job Centre ran sessions to make people aware of what was available.


Richard Locke-Wheaton, Employment Services Team Leader at the Linkage Trust:-


·         Explained that Linkage Trust was a Lincoln based charity that supported people with learning disabilities.

·         Advised that as an organisation it aimed to build a personalised package through 1:1 training and try to match an employer to their needs.

·         Highlighted the challenges that an individual would face when applying for a job which were:

-       Applications not being accessible online.

-       Job specifications being too wide so it was difficult to understand the skills needed.

-       Lack of confidence/ability.

-       Transport.

-       Lack of general support.


Invited Members’ questions and comments.


Question: What educational work had Linkage Trust been involved in?


Response: From a student concept, an educational brief would be carried out. Tick box exercises had been stopped and it was more without building a generic skill set to help secure employment.


Question: Where did clients get referred from?


Response: Residential care or referrals from parents and the DWP.


Mark Taylor, Lincoln College:


·         Explained that Lincoln College offered a range of qualifications. The majority were vocational. There were also short, long and evening courses available.

·         Advised that courses were measured through achievement levels and needed to be relevant to the employer.

·         Stated that the annual planning process of courses that were delivered at the College ran from November to March. It was reviewed by the success rates and popularity of the courses.

·         Highlighted that the College utilised their resources over the summer period for other training needs.

·         Informed that the college provided a variety of tools to identify learning difficulties as well advice and guidance.


Invited Members questions and comments.


Question: Did the College provide courses for people with childcare commitments?


Response: Online courses were an option. The College was trying to broaden the scope to allow people the option of doing an online course. The College had been liaising with nursery businesses in regards to childcare issues.


Question: Were there college courses available for European residents to improve English speaking?


Response: Not at the moment however if the individual was registered on the College system, it would be able to contact them about opportunities.


Question: Did the College do anything to alleviate transport issues?


Response: It had been involved with an organisations called Vision Drive, which supported students to access the city.


Question: Were apprenticeships welcomed?


Response: Yes. 1500 people of various ages had been taken on this year.


Question: Were the students male or female?


Response: Predominately male.


Farhan Ahmed, Lincoln University:


·         Explained that the University tried to ensure that students had an input in the types of the programmes that were delivered.

·         Stated that the University was keen for students to stay in Lincoln once they had graduated and had been trying to engage with them to ensure that.

·         Advised that apprenticeships with the Police and the Lincoln Co-op were now in operation.

·         Reported that the University were trying to engage with students in summer so they remained on campus over 12 months.

·         Explained that they were looking to introduce courses for disabilities in the near future.

·         Informed that the University offered students with mental health problems the opportunity to visit earlier than the rest of the students and be allocated a key worker. It ensured that they felt comfortable with the transition.

·         Highlighted that work-based distance learning programmes such as On Campus RAF Training were a huge success.

·         Advised that the University also offered short courses (weekend, evening and online) for people who were employed but wanted to gain further qualifications and increase their salaries.


Question: With regards to early accessibility for students before start, had it been utilised?


Response: 103 people turned up to the open day which was an exceptional turn out.