northfieldconstituencyNorthfield MP Richard Burden (Labour) has today launched a new plan aimed at getting people in Northfield constituency* back to work and improving the local economy.

New figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed that long term unemployment in Birmingham continues to rise. Working in partnership with local businesses, elected representatives and community groups, the plan “The Climb Project” aims to develop a new economic vision and provide practical assistance for jobs and growth.

Richard Burden MP speaks at the opening event
Richard Burden MP speaking at last year’s youth conference

Richard said: “It’s shocking that there are 295 young people [18-24 year olds] in the Northfield area who have been without a job for over 12 months. In 2009 this number was 20. The government’s failed economic plan is robbing our community of aspiration and prosperity.

“As last week’s Spending Review and economic revisions have shown, we continue to lack the urgent growth and investment needed to provide sustainable economic growth, I am launching a new project to make a difference locally.”

A local jobs’ fair will be held in the Autumn and local partnerships will work on bringing new investment and jobs to the area.

It is also proposed that the Climb Project will link with a number of the employment and skills initiatives introduced by the Labour-led Birmingham City Council, such as the Youth Unemployment Commission. Shilpi Akbar, Birmingham City Council’s Assistant Director for Employment Development said: “Partnerships are crucial for tackling unemployment and ensuring that we build the right skills to support growth. Supporting a local forum that brings businesses and the community together to capture local job opportunities is an important part of the Council’s commitment to improve employment access across the city.”

Central to the project is the idea that the area bridges the city centre with the wider West Midlands economy, and has unique proximity to the Lickey, Waseley and Clent Hills – or “Birmingham’s Green Hills”.

Launching the plan today, Richard Burden said: “I have been speaking to local people and businesses over the past few months about how to tackle the jobs crisis. There are some great new economic developments and educational initiatives emerging in Birmingham – but unfortunately they are failing to meet the needs of our area.

“I have heard a strong consensus that we need a new economic vision and identity for South West Birmingham, driven by local needs. It will build on our unique industrial heritage, leverage our strategic position – close to both the city centre and Birmingham’s Green Hills – and take us into the future with sectors such as advanced manufacturing, digital innovation, and the design and creative industries. This must link strongly to community and voluntary activity too, which are a crucial part of the picture.”

Local employers are keen to join the partnership. Richard Evans, CEO of Mechatronic Solutions said: “I know from the manufacturing industry that we urgently need joined up thinking – led by business and including education and training establishments, and fully supported by the Government and industry – to help re-build our economy and get young people engaged and employed. A local business forum is an encouraging platform for action.”

The partnership’s first planning meeting will be held in late July at Bournville College. Principal Norman Cave said: “The area is brimming with energy and talent. At Bournville we are committed to working with employers and the local community to build the skills and knowledge necessary for local jobs and growth. That is why the College is proud to support the project, and host it’s first meeting.”

The £1 billion redevelopment project at Longbridge, businesses from MG Motor to Mechatronic Solutions, Higher Education institutions such as Bournville College and community projects such as the Northfield Business Improvement District and Town Centre Partnership, are all cited as starting points for the area’s economic revival.

For more information on the Climb Project visit www.richardburden.com

*Northfield parliamentary constituency includes the council wards of Kings Norton, Longbridge, Kings Norton and Weoley

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