Celebrating New Futures’ impact in Tees Valley: Three prongs to success

With the Tees Valley New Futures pilot ending in December, Sally Gardner from Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) explains how the programme has impacted residents and the local economy.


01 02 2024


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On the ground, the team has witnessed three ways that Tess Valley New Futures has had an impact: supporting individuals into meaningful employment; adding capacity to existing local programmes; and lessons learned that will inform TVCA’s employment and skills strategy.

1. Supporting employment

On the frontline, we have met and engaged with 260 people. We have provided sustained, intensive careers information, advice and guidance: listening to people’s ideas and aspirations; identifying their transferable skills; and organising individual training packages to help them reskill for a new career.

The team has met a wide range of different people with various ambitions. Many have taken advantage of careers being created in the clean, green industries of tomorrow on the back of local investment, including in the Offshore sector. We have even seen business administrators and retail staff building the confidence and tools to take the leap into self-employment.

Tees Valley New Futures has supported 147 people to access a wide range of local, in-person training opportunities, including with the Security Industry Authority, Global Wind Organisation, Basic Offshore Safety Induction, Emergency Training and Minimum Industry Safety Training, and Rigger and Slinger Banksman. We also sourced online courses for participants who were unable to attend training due to work commitments, including Level 2 AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians), Level 2 Food Hygiene, Level 3 Library Information and Services, and Level 2 Business Administration.

Across Tees Valley, recent ONS figures show that compared to the previous year:

  • Employment has increased
  • The benefit claimant count has dropped
  • Economic inactivity has decreased in three out of five local authority areas.

Working as part of TVCA’s wider employment and adult skills offer, I would like to think that the New Futures Pilot has contributed to this improving picture.

2. Adding capacity

As Tees Valley New Futures progressed, a specific need was identified locally in Darlington. This resulted in the development of a targeted offer, led by local Voluntary and Community Sector Organisation Tandem.

Tandem’s activity ran for three months and supported people in Darlington who were considering changing career. This focused on people over the age of 25 who had been looking after their home or family and were unemployed for up to 36 months because of Covid-19.

Tandem formed strong working relationships with major employers in Darlington, including Amazon, Aldi and ABM Recycling. It successfully engaged with 36 participants and successfully supporting six people into employment. This success opened the opportunity for Tandem to work in partnership with New Futures in Redcar & Cleveland, providing the same model of support.

This bespoke approach showcased New Futures’ ability to adapt and add capacity to existing training programmes.

3. Informing strategy

Tees Valley’s  Employment and Skills Strategy sets a vision for: every resident to have support and training to help them achieve and access their chosen job or career; and every business to have access to skills, recruitment and workforce development support to ensure sustainability and growth.

The strategy sets out how we will harness and maximise the significant economic opportunities now and in the long-term, considering employment and skills challenges we face, including as a direct result of Covid-19. New Futures directly supported people whose jobs were impacted by the pandemic, helping to meet this immediate need, but also equipping us with learning to inform our next steps.

New Futures has helped to highlight the importance of every Tees Valley resident having access to careers advice and training, so they can make informed decisions and achieve their career ambitions. The pilot has also shown why we need a joined-up employment and skills system that enables people to adapt to local labour market changes and reskill into jobs in priority growth sectors.

The programme has demonstrated the need for strong partnership working between training providers and employers to ensure that skills provision is strategically and economically significant to meet the needs of individuals, employers and the local economy.

By Sally Gardner, Business Solutions Manager, Tees Valley Combined Authority