£7m pilot for health jobs
Unemployed, elderly and disabled to be helped into work
Peterborough’s long-term unemployed and elderly and disabled residents will be helped into work in the health and social care sector as part of a £7.2 million project.
The new ‘Health and Care Sector Progression Academy’ is largely being funded by a £5.2 million contribution from the Government, with the rest made up from the devolved Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which is headed up by the county’s mayor James Palmer.
The landmark pilot is one of six announced by the Government on Tuesday.
Former mayoral candidate Julie Howell, a disabilefits ity rights campaigner who has Multiple Sclerosis, said: “I would like to hear how the mayor plans to integrate disabled and chronically ill people into the workplace given their often complex needs.”
She also wanted to know the plans to assess disabled and chronically ill people for suitability for return to work and any potential loss of entitlement to benefits and care services which “make disabled and chronically ill people’s lives liveable.”
The money will help train around 2,100 people – including 600 new apprentices – to secure jobs in the industry. Those already working in the sector will also be given assistance to progress their careers.
Mayor Palmer said: “This is a prime example of the ben- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will receive because of our devolution deal with central government.
“I am excited to see this pilot develop and help us make a difference in the county.”
Lynne Byrne, senior operations manager at Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said the pilot will be “good news for older people.”
She added: “Caring is a very demanding role, requires flexible and unsocial working hours to support the most vulnerable and may not be suitable for all.” North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said the project “will be a real boost to employers who are searching for quality staff.”
The academy will be held at numerous venues. A launch date has not yet been finalised.