A big part of the Bristol story is the existence and expansion of thousands of local businesses – large and small. Of course, businesses are made up of many people who are local residents too, including young people, parents/carers, volunteers and active community members. ESL has a critical role in linking up with employers and employees, not just to inspire future generations, but also to open up employment opportunities, develop employment related skills and provide in- work support for those that are struggling on low incomes.
Over the last few days I have had some great opportunities to explore joint working opportunities with a number of very large businesses in the city. Delyse and I took part in a wide ranging meeting with two senior managers from BT who want to partner with us to help increase digital skills across all ages – from primary school pupils, young people disengaged from learning, adults who are being left out of the digital revolution, teachers and other key community members that might benefit from digital skill resources and learning opportunities. There’s huge scope for us to work together – watch this space for further updates.
On Monday I was part of a workshop planned together with Bristol University and Burgess Salmon on how the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone can tackle some of the entrenched inequality and poverty in the surrounding neighbourhoods and wider city. Different businesses and key stakeholders were in attendance, and there was a fruitful exploration of the opportunities. Jack Allan from the Council’s Economic Development Team gave an update on the Zone – with 400 new businesses anticipated to be on site by 2037, and 17,000 jobs anticipated by 2037, of which one third will be new jobs. ESL will have a key role in brokering employment and skills pathways and opportunities, starting with the new University campus that is coming on stream in 2023.
Monday 20th January 2020 was this year’s Blue Monday Job Fair at the Galleries in Broadmead, the so-called most depressing day of the year. Huge congratulations to Chris Mitchell and all ESL colleagues involved, working together with the National Careers Service, DWP, Carers Support Service, Bristol Water and #Jobnetwork Bristol to bring together a range of organisations to help people with wellbeing, support, advice, jobs and apprenticeships. This year the event was bigger than ever with 75 organisations and at least 770 residents coming along to improve their 2020.