A couple of weeks ago I visited the new premises of Questions and Answers, a Community Interest Company who have recently moved to Station Road in Redruth. Questions and Answers offer specialist adult training and apprenticeships across Devon and Cornwall either through individual tuition tailored to the needs of the client or through a variety of established courses focusing on employability. A lot of the courses on offer are free and they will also work with companies to help them further develop employees.
I was really impressed by Q & A’s new offices, complete with public access PCs, a young enterprise zone and dedicated training rooms for a wide variety of courses. It is clear that adult training is a growing market, and as the workplace becomes increasingly IT dominated many adults want to take advantage of courses helping their computer literacy. There are also young adults who really want to get to grips with a subject before embarking on a career or who feel they need that little bit extra training after leaving school or college.
Training and improved skills offer the best route to new job opportunities. I have always been clear that delivering economic regeneration and creating more and better paid jobs is the number one priority for this part of Cornwall. We are making progress and in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle recent published figures show that the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has fallen by 500 since the beginning of last year. Despite perceptions to the contrary, we actually have a level of unemployment that is about average for the UK at 3.4 percent.
Whilst better training is one way to find a job, we also need to make sure young people or those who have been out of work for a while can find the right experience to make them more employable. The work experience scheme has been a real success nationally and overall has helped over half a million 18 to 24 year olds find placements in the past couple of years. In plenty of cases employers have been so impressed with the young people involved they have gone out of their way to find them paid employment. There is also the Work Programme, administered by Working Links and Prospects in our area which helps the long-term unemployed find lasting jobs and gets them off benefits.
We need to do more and as the economy turns a corner we need to make sure we create better paid jobs for this part of Cornwall. As new companies arrive I want to see them become successful and profitable enough to offer higher wages so that we encourage people to stay in work.
George Eustice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.