Working and contributing together
Our long-term ambition is that everyone has the fair opportunity to contribute to Walsall through meaningful work or volunteering. Everyone should be able to speak English to access these opportunities.
Work forces should be representative of the communities living in Walsall and businesses should play a key role in supporting local communities and promoting integration.
To achieve this ambition, we must support people to develop skills and access appropriate training, employment or volunteering opportunities. Increased participation in employment or volunteering will help broaden people’s social networks and increase their confidence. We must ensure businesses have fair recruitment policies and equal opportunities for progression. We must understand the barriers to accessing English language classes and ensure we offer appropriate provision.
What will we do?
We will create a new English Language Intelligence Unit, which acts as a single point of contact for anyone in Walsall who speaks English as a second language (ESOL) to improve their English Language skills. This new unit will act as a brokerage service between potential learners and all of Walsall’s ESOL providers.
The service will also collect and analyse data on unmet needs and work with providers to ensure appropriate courses are provided. We will work with the Department for Work and Pensions to support those furthest from the labour market. Walsall job centres will create an outreach team to provide tailored support for disadvantaged people, particularly women in the local community to better understand their specific needs, opportunities to tackle isolation and overcome barriers to participation in mainstream provision – improving both their prospects and potential to engage in opportunities that may lead to meaningful employability.
We will enhance capacity of 'Walsall Works', the Walsall Economic board and other key partners to encourage equality of opportunity in the workplace. This will require closer working with the borough’s large employers, Chamber of Commerce and small and medium enterprises to develop social integration leadership capabilities among their staff. Through offering apprenticeships and volunteer placements for people with different abilities, ages and background, we can better meet needs of our local communities and create a better environment for integration.
What does this mean for the people of Walsall?
Short term results:
Adults with poor English Language skills will have a single point of contact within the Council to register for ESOL classes.
ESOL learners are referred to the most suitable provision for them, and education training opportunities fully utilised.
More disadvantaged residents, especially women, are supported to integrate into the community and sustainable employment.
Workplaces reform their recruitment practices to attract new apprentices and employees from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Long term results:
Increased uptake of ESOL provision and improved data.
Improved partnership working between ESOL providers across the sectors with an improved learner offer and progression routes from informal to formal learning .
Cohorts of those furthest from the labour market will have been supported, skills enhanced and issues of social isolation fully addressed.
Walsall people, regardless of background, can work together in harmony with equal opportunities for accessing employment and progression.
Public and private sector employers value and increase employment diversity at all levels.