Expanding opportunities through skills, education and inclusion through our devolved adult education budget, new inclusion, education and employment and skills programmes.

This portfolio delivers activities that widens opportunities, creates new training and job openings, closes gaps and provides the skills pipeline for our future industries and sectors.

It does this through major investments in adult education, employability and inclusion, and through innovation in employment support in partnership with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). A joint school improvement programme across North of Tyne maximises Department for Education (DfE) investment to best support all children, with a focus on our most vulnerable.

Adult Education and Skills

Our vision is of a dynamic and more inclusive economy, one that brings together people and opportunities to create vibrant communities and a high quality of life. 

To support our vision, our region requires a skills infrastructure that is fully aware of, and responsive to, the sectors that have labour and skills shortages. 

NTCA’s Strategic Skills Plan puts skills at the centre of NTCA’s economic ambitions and will: 

– Provide a clear direction of travel to skills commissioners, our provider networks and employers
– Influence local skills provision and curriculum design
– Become a vital tool in setting priorities, allocating resources and potential funding. 

Adult Education Budget

Women in a classroom

NTCA has control of an annual £25 million Adult Education Budget (AEB) devolved to the area from government. AEB is being used to help upskill people into good work and further training.

NTCA currently fund providers to deliver a range of provision targeting employed and unemployed residents to upskill in English, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), digital skills, maths and full Level 2 and Level 3 vocational programmes required for work.

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Creative People: Skills for the Culture and Creative Sector

NTCA has Investment Fund projects to the value of 5 million for specific training for work in the creative, digital and green sectors. These are exciting opportunities for residents to engage with bespoke skills provision in both growth and specialist sectors for the North of Tyne area.

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Green Skills for Growth

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Green skills was identified as priority sector and we are proud to partner with local providers on four exciting Green skills programmes. 

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Multiply

Woman speaking to a group of women sat around a table

Multiply is a national programme funded from UKSPF and is designed to deliver adult numeracy skills. NTCA’s Multiply programme will focus on three delivery themes: Community Engagement, Family Learning and Numeracy Skills for the Workplace.

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Skills Bootcamps

Group of people holding up their certificates

Skills Bootcamps are part of the Government’s National Skills Fund investments helping adults to gain the skills that are sought by employers, so real skills that are needed to gain or advance in a specific employment sector.

NTCA has £9Milion in DfE Skills Bootcamps funding for 2023/24 and have invested in the following sectors: Construction, Culture and Events, Digital, Green Skills, Logistics and Technical.

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Skills for Growth

NTCA has Investment Fund projects to the value of 5 million for specific training for work in the green, digital, and creative sectors. These are exciting opportunities for residents to engage with bespoke skills provision in both growth and specialist sectors for the North of Tyne area.

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Education Improvement

We want to see an education, employment and skills system in the North of Tyne where:

– young people will leave the education system with the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to succeed
-working-age adults who are out of work or who have low levels of skills will have access to the support they need to enter and sustain employment
– carers will have the opportunity to be supported tor eturn to employment, education or training
– all residents have the chance to up-skill and progress in their careers

Child Poverty Prevention Programme

Pupils in a wood holding up a large tree branch

NTCA is committed to giving every child in our region the opportunity to thrive. That’s why in Summer 2021, NTCA’s Cabinet approved two pilot programmes, the Child Poverty Prevention Pilot and the Education Improvement pilot for the North of Tyne.

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Climate Change Education

Three school boys doing climate project

NTCA recognises the importance of children having access to world class environmental education and are exploring ways to support our schools to provide this. Teachers can access and undertake UN accredited online courses on climate change through UN CC:Learn. These courses are free to enrol and provide certificates of completion to learners that obtain a passing grade of 70% or more on completion of the courses.

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Education Improvement Programme

School children round a desk

The Education Improvement Programme for the North of Tyne is delivered as part NTCA’s Education, Skills and Inclusion portfolio priority and exemplifies a commitment to thinking creatively and progressively about the widest implications of an inclusive economy.

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STEM and Digital Skills

Children in a classroom looking at large TV monitor

NTCA is funding several projects which will prepare young people for the economic opportunities of the future.

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Employability

North of Tyne Combined Authority and Department for Work and Pensions Joint Employment Support Framework

The North of Tyne Devolution Agreement (published on the 8 November 2018) built the foundations for tackling employment, skills, and opportunities in our region collaboratively. Devolution has given us the chance to make our own decisions about our own future. We are targeting investment where we know we need it most, making a strong connection between economic growth and providing people with the skills, education and confidence to benefit from the opportunities that follow.

Within the Agreement there is a commitment for NTCA and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to jointly develop and adopt an Employment Support Framework. Which serves to drive better coordination of employment, skills, and health services across the North of Tyne area and increase the number of residents moving into work. The intention for the Framework, and its supporting Delivery Plan, is to significantly contribute to a more inclusive economy in the North of Tyne. Collaboration, innovation, and co-design are at the heart of this shared Framework which received formal assent from the Secretary of State in October 2020. 

Read the DWP Joint Framework

North of Tyne Employability Plan

The North of Tyne Employability Plan provides an opportunity to develop a more collaborative approach across North of Tyne to address the barriers to employment and the challenges employers are currently facing to support economic recovery and growth. Stakeholders across North of Tyne are encouraged to refer to this strategy within their own plans knowing that collectively we will be working towards the same shared goals. 

The content of the plan includes an overview of the priorities and employability interventions required to support our inclusive economy, and which are likely to have the greatest impact in terms of addressing the barriers to employment residents face. These priorities provide a mechanism for NTCA to strengthen our role in developing & supporting innovative employment support programmes. 

Over the next 2 years we will, along with our partners, focus our efforts on the following priorities:

  • Provide employment support for the most disadvantaged. 
  • Develop local community-led and place-based approaches.
  • Support people with long-term health conditions, through the development of integrated employment programmes 
  • Provide good quality jobs.

Read the North of Tyne Employability Plan

Strategic Employability Group

The North of The Strategic Employability was established early in 2023 to provide a cross-sector platform generating a more cohesive and collaborative approach to employment support across North of Tyne. The Group will assume oversight of the North of Tyne Employability Plan and will champion, initiate, and drive activities within the region to realise the ambitions it sets out. 

Members of this group include NTCA, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland local authorities, Voluntary Organisations North East (VONNE), DWP, Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Federation of Small Businesses, National Careers Service, Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle United Foundation and representatives from housing associations.

The role of this group includes:

  • Supporting, developing and sustaining a cohesive and coordinated approach to employment support across North of Tyne.
  • Sharing intelligence from across labour market systems to identify gaps in provision, responses and interventions to address emerging issues
  • Working closely with local Employment Partnerships – share information, intelligence and best practice to ensure responses fit with local needs.  
  • Developing co-designed ideas including new ways of working that seek to better integrate and strengthen relevant employment interventions.
  • Bringing together representatives of local employers and providers to understand local employment needs and translate them into employment support services
  • Acting in an advisory capacity to support the delivery of the joint DWP/NTCA’s Employment Framework.

UKSPF People and Skills

UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) funding will be invested in activities supporting local residents to secure jobs, stay in work, and progress their careers through skills development. This will include: one-to-one support to help economically inactive people overcome barriers to work, such as lack of basic skills or health problems; supporting people to stay in work and helping people currently in work to update their skills so they can do jobs in the growing ‘green economy’.

A total of up to £11.6m UKSPF revenue funding is available to invest in People and Skills activities in the North of Tyne area up to March 2025. More details can be found on the UKSPF People and Skills page.

Below you will find details of current projects, commissioned to support the North of Tyne Employability Plan.

BOOST

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BOOST is a housing-led employability project supporting social housing tenants in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, delivered by some of the region’s largest housing providers. The project is delivered until March 2025.

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Employability and Skills Programme

Two lads drilling into walls

The Employability and Skills Programme supports an inclusive economy in the North of Tyne area by enabling good quality and locally tailored employment support interventions. This programme ended on 31 December 2023.

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Employment Partnerships

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The Employment Partnerships project aims to improve co-ordination of employability provision in and across the North of Tyne constituent authorities. Supporting job seekers and employers across the region, and helping move people into sustained, high-quality employment.

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Empower Works

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Empower Works supports participants who are autistic and/or neurodivergent, those with learning difficulties and disabilities, and people experiencing mental ill-health to identify and tackle barriers to finding employment.  Spanning the Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland area the project aims to encourage those who wish to enter the labour market move closer to employment. The project is delivered until March 2025. 

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New Start

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New Start is a supported work placement scheme offering career progression ‘Startup’ roles, giving candidates the opportunity to get a ‘foot in the door’ with jobs they may have never considered or been considered for. The project is delivered across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, until March 2025.

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North of Tyne Small Grant Programme 

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The Small Grant Programme, managed by Rocket Science, has provided grants to 16 community-based projects to engage and support economically inactive residents across the North of Tyne area. The projects, aimed at fostering community engagement, are uniquely designed to support residents on their path to employment. 

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Northern Directions

Northern Directions engages young people aged 16-24 in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland to progress into the labour market, further education and training. The project is delivered until March 2025.

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Open Doors: Beyond Barriers

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Open Doors: Beyond Barriers will support socially excluded economically inactive and unemployed residents living in the North of the Tyne to remove barriers to employment, build confidence and motivation to work, and progress with basic skills. The project is delivered until March 2025.

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Progress NE

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Led by the North East Autism Society, Progress NE is a project providing specialist employment support to neurodivergent residents across the whole North of Tyne area until 31 March 2025. 

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Return to Work Carers Project

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The Return to Work Carers Project helps residents who are 16 years old or over and have ongoing caring commitments, and either want to find work or want a change of employment to better suit their caring responsibilities, to access a range of route-ways into local jobs

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Solid Foundations

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Solid Foundations provides support to economically inactive residents living in Northumberland, who are experiencing a range of barriers to employment until 31 March 2025.

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Talent Pools and Pathways

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A project providing coordinated employer-led support to match job seekers in Newcastle to employers’ vacancies. The project is led by Newcastle City Council with Building Futures East, JET, Newcastle United Foundation, Prince’s Trust, Reviving the Heart of the West End and Winnovation as delivery partners. The project is delivered until March 2025.

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Union Learn Project

The North of Tyne Union Learn project expands the number of union representatives helping low-skilled workers access training, in order to develop their skills and confidence.

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Wise Group Relational Mentoring project

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This project provides relational mentoring to economically inactive residents who are over the age of 16 and live in the Newcastle and North Tyneside areas, to help them move towards and into employment. The project will deliver until 31 March 2025.

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Working for Carers

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Working for Carers supports unpaid carers aged 16+ in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland to enable them to move towards employment, as well as carers who are in work to sustain work and achieve career progression. The project is led by North Tyneside Carers’ Centre with Newcastle Carers and Carers Northumberland as delivery partners. The project is delivered until March 2025.

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Works 4U

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Works 4U is led by Back 2 Work Complete Training with North Tyneside Council, Groundwork North East & Cumbria and Humankind as delivery partners. Works4U provides intensive holistic support, delivered in hyper-local community settings, with activities that are individually paced and act as a building block to progression. Activities are focused on routes to employment, […]

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Youth Employment Partnerships and VCSE Small Grants Programme

Multi ethnic circle of people whose raised hands are touching in the middle

The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Small Grants Programme funded 10 experienced organisations across the region to deliver targeted, expert provision for disadvantaged young people not in work and not accessing mainstream employment support. The programme was developed as part of the wider Youth Employment Partnerships.

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Inclusion

Our North of Tyne vision is of a dynamic, sustainable and more inclusive economy. This is one that brings together people and opportunities to create vibrant communities and a good quality of life. We have an ambition to narrow inequalities and ensure that everyone has a stake in our region’s future.

Advancing Equality

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NTCA are serious about meaningful co-production and co-design, and we are passionate about the use of lived experience in policy making.

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Community Partnerships

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NTCA is investing in the creation of three Community Partnerships with a focus on places with high levels of deprivation, low levels of civic action and an under-resourced VCSE Sector.

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The Volunteering and Social Action Programme

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The Volunteering and Social Action Programme, a cornerstone of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Community Programmes and Partnerships activity, is set to inject £1 million into fostering impactful volunteering and social action initiatives across the North of Tyne Combined Authority area. 

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Wellbeing Framework

The North of Tyne is the first combined authority in England to adopt a wellbeing framework to drive a better economy – one focused on growing everyone’s wellbeing.

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Wellbeing Framework Data Dashboard

Poster with text about the North of Tyne Wellbeing Framework

The Wellbeing Framework Data Dashboard monitors changes to the wellbeing indicators over time, to help inform local decisions and policy making.

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