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ECA tackles unemployment crisis

In light of recent unemployment figures, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) is urging UK plc to reconsider its approach to skills training, and calls for the private and public sectors, employer associations and the Government to work together to establish new, more accessible routes into employment. The latest statistics show that 1.09 million women are now out of a job, a 7% increase on the same period last year.

ECA Skills Ambassador and former President Diane Johnson

With female employment at its highest level since 1988, and steadily rising, the ECA’s recently launched employment initiative, ‘Wired for Success’, aims to tackle this issue by providing a blueprint that can be successfully replicated by skills-based industries around the country.

The London pilot sees 12 unemployed women training in the electrical industry, where only 0.14% of operatives are female. A specially developed course provides the flexibility needed to accommodate the women who want to work but who have family commitments which prevent them from undertaking traditional training or employment.

ECA Skills Ambassador and former President Diane Johnson (pictured) says: “Wired for Success is giving these women, all of whom are living in social housing, the opportunity to get off benefits and into a job in a sector with a looming skills crisis. We hope this pilot – in which we have collaborated with social housing association, L&Q – will just be the beginning. The model could be easily picked-up by progressive organisations working together in any skilled sector across the country, with the aim of reversing unemployment and giving under-represented groups the chance to contribute to the economy.”

John Hayes, Minister for Skills, added: “By opening access to vocational training, Wired for Success will help get women who need support to get work, and get on at work, the opportunity to build lasting and productive careers. This initiative should inspire other industries to look at how vocational training can work for them, giving them the skilled staff they need to prosper and grow.

Johnson commented: “This programme is a great example of like-minded organisations working together to build better lives for people. We are keen to engage with Government to see how this template can be expanded and would like to discuss how funding could be focused on initiatives like this rather than on Further Education courses that get people a certificate, but do not necessarily provide the hands-on experience required by employers.”

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