Closer co-operation between West Midlands councils and the regional development agency is helping to drive down unemployment and improve workforce skills, it has been claimed.
The city region board – covering Birmingham, Coventry, the Black Country, Solihull and Telford – said its Pathfinder initiative had been responsible for removing 4,808 people from claiming benefits in 55 of the region’s most socially deprived wards over the past year.
The figure, which represents 60 per cent of the target, was described as a “remarkable achievement”, by Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby, who chairs the city region board.
Other targets have already been exceeded, with the board helping almost 41,000 people to achieve Level 2 qualifications, 200 per cent better than planned, and 32,000 people to achieve Skills for Life qualifications, almost 400 per cent above target.
The campaign is being led and delivered by the Learning and Skills Council which is working with the eight city region councils, Advantage West Midlands, the business community and Jobcentre Plus.