HC Deb 01 April 2004 vol 419 cc1621-2W
Chris Ruane

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures his Department has taken to promote Local Labour in Construction in the(a) public and (b) private sector; and if he will make a statement. [164887]

Maria Eagle

This Department is promoting local labour in construction through Framework for Regional Employment and Skills Action (FRESAs) and more specifically our Ambition: Construction pilots.

Since October 2002 each English region has had in place its Framework for Regional Employment and Skills Action (FRESAs). FRESAs aim to maintain and improve regional labour markets by co-ordinating strategy for employment and skills in each region, and ensuring a more efficient and co-ordinated service for employers and individuals alike. The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) were asked to lead in the development of FRESAs by DWP, with DfES and DTI. The strategic partners taking forward FRESAs include Government Offices, Jobcentre Plus, the CBI, the TUC, the Learning and Skills Council and local authorities.

Ambition is unique among UK welfare-to-work programmes in terms of the degree to which employers are involved in design and delivery. By meeting the precise entry requirements of employers, Ambition can open up well-paid jobs with career potential to unemployed and disadvantaged jobseekers, while at the same time offering a high-quality recruitment service to employers and helping them to address skill shortages.

Ambition pilots are working with employers at central and local levels. Centrally, a steering group of business leaders from the construction sector oversees the project and reports progress to Ministers. Locally, Jobcentre Plus and contracted training providers engage local employers in the design of the programme and work with them to identify and meet their recruitment needs.

Ambition: Construction pilots are operating in seven locations: Paddington, Nottingham, Leeds, Coventry, Manchester, Merseyside and Aberdeen, with two further pilots in Edinburgh, and the Forth Valley starting in April 2004.