Big jobs fair in York next week

70 employers and 800 attendees expected

From 10am to 2pm at the York Railway Institute (RI), Queen Street, around 70 employers and training providers including John Lewis, Aviva and the North Yorkshire Police are expected along with some 800 visitors.

Funded and organised by City of York Council in partnership with Job Centre Plus, this latest job fair brings together employers, employment support agencies, and education and training providers to offer local people job opportunities, information and advice

Cllr Keith Aspden, executive member for economic development and community engagement, said: “The fair is aimed at those looking for employment, people considering a change of job or career and those who would like to develop new skills and gain new qualifications.

“This is always a really worthwhile event, so do go along if you can.”

Decision on “Make it York” future

The Council must decide whether to renew a three year contract with Make it York (MIY) at a meeting taking place later this week.

The organisation is a curious hybrid with responsibility for a disparate range of functions including business development, tourism, culture and the Shambles market.

For residents, its City centre activities are likely to have the highest profile.  Many initiatives there, including the Christmas lights and anti-litter patrols, are the brainchild of the, trade funded, “York BID”

MIY has been criticised for its opaque decision-making processes.  As a “wholly owned Council company” it should be subject to regular review by a “stakeholder” committee and at least two of the Council’s scrutiny committees (which are themselves famously obtuse).

In realty the “stakeholder committee” rarely meets, while the Council’s two representatives on the MIY board have a largely subterranean profile.

Success has been limited, with a confusing array of bodies (LEP North Yorkshire, LEP City Region, York BID etc.) rubbing shoulders in the same field.

Coney Street decline

MIY can take some credit in helping to sustain the number of tourists coming to the City. This is an important part of the economy and visitor numbers have increased, partly on the back of a weak pound.

Employment levels in the City also remain high

The biggest criticism of the Council’s approach is a lack of smart PIs on which to judge the organisations success.

Very noticeably, there are no customer satisfaction measures in the current set, other than those for participating businesses.

MIY receives an annual £300,000 subsidy from taxpayers.

Some encouraging comparisons for York in new City study

York now has the highest employment rate of any City in the north of England or Scotland. It also has one of the lowest claimant (benefit) rates.

York has a relatively small proportion of jobs in employment sectors which are expected to shrink in size over the next few years.

These include sales assistants and retail cashiers,other administrative occupations, customer service occupations, administrative occupations: finance and elementary storage occupations. A century ago the most vulnerable occupations were forecast (correctly) to be domestic indoor servants.

Th news is contained in a new report published by the “Centre for Cities”.

The report can be read by clicking here

York tends to be average to better than average on most tests applied by the study.

It fares well on the number of residents with high level qualifications having 42.7% compared to the UK average of  38.0%

Perhaps more surprisingly York does’t yet feature in the top 10 of City’s with ultra fast broadband access while housing remains more affordable than in many southern cities.

 

Could an apprentice help your business grow?

City of York Council is calling on businesses in the area to find out how the new funding for apprenticeship training could help their business up skill existing staff or hire new staff ahead of National Apprenticeship week running from 5-9 March.

Employers from across the city will be showcasing high quality apprenticeship vacancies at York’s ninth apprenticeship recruitment event, organised by the council-led York Apprenticeship Hub.

The event on Thursday 8 March will see over 400 young people meet with recruiting employers and existing apprentices to find out information about alternative routes through Level 3 qualifications and university.

Cllr Keith Orrell, Interim Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement, said: “If your business is looking into apprenticeships, or you are not sure what the apprenticeship reforms or apprenticeship levy means for your business, then this event can help your business find out more. Our apprenticeships team will be on hand to help with any queries.”

Over 100 apprenticeship vacancies will be promoted covering business and finance, construction, retail, hospitality, digital & IT, engineering, law, childcare & intelligence. Exhibiting employers include: Nestlé, PureNet, City of York Council, the Armed Services, Fera Science Ltd, Network Rail and many more.

To either meet with training providers or someone independent from the council-led York Apprenticeship Hub team, or to exhibit your apprenticeship vacancies at the event, please contact the apprenticeship team on york.apprenticeships@york.gov.uk or 01904 553732.

So just how well has the City centre economy fared this year?

St Nicholas market popular this year

Traders in York are saying that they have had a very good period in the run up to Christmas.  The St Nicholas market has attracted coachloads of visitors, while the Christmas lights displays have been generally applauded.

Special events like the display in the Museum Gardens have added to the festive spirit.

The number of people on the streets  has been high during late November and December although the final figures won’t be known until after the holiday.

But, of course, everything is relative with overall visitor numbers, as measured by “footfall” cameras, broadly the same as they were 7 years ago.

There are of course peaks and troughs. There was distinct peak, for example, when the Tour de France visited York in 2014. But that boost was largely transient.

Some will point out that there are parts of the City centre which have been neglected. Duncombe Place is an unexploited opportunity, particularly at Christmas time, while Exhibition Square (outside the Art Gallery), is too often a deserted and windswept place.

Parliament Street remains a visual embarrassment made worst this year by the ugly shipping container village.

Footfall in Coney Street has shown the biggest fall with long term empty shop units mainly to blame.

Nor does footfall always translate into economic activity although several attractions, including The Minster and Merchant Adventurers Hall, are reporting a 5 year high in visitors.

January and February may give a more realistic set of figures on which to measure whether the City centre is bouncing back from the recession and changes to shopping habits.

We hope that it is.

Footfall trend in key shopping streets

Footfall in Parliament Street

 

 

Liberal Democrats call on the MOD for greater clarity regarding Queen Elizabeth and Imphal Barracks

Imphal Barracks

The Liberal Democrats are, once again, calling on the MOD to provide greater clarity regarding the closures of Queen Elizabeth and Imphal Barracks, in order to provide assurances to those affected in the community.

Cllr Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Councillor and Interim Deputy Leader of City of York Council, has written to the Secretary of State to seek urgent clarification on the potential impact of non-military personnel and employment in the city.

Both barracks are valued by the City and many residents are proud of York’s connection with the armed forces.  With the planned closures in place, local communities have questioned the future of the sites and the personnel associated with them.

Although decisions regarding military personnel are currently underway; the Liberal Democrats are requesting assurances to be given for other staff in the barracks, such as civil servants, so that they can remain in York and not

Andrew Waller

be removed from the local community.

Cllr Andrew Waller said:

“York is proud of its relationship with the armed forces and residents place great worth on the contribution both barracks make to the community.

The closures of Queen Elizabeth and Imphal barracks have significant and negative implications on the City of York, the people within those communities and on jobs connected to the barracks.

It is for this reason; I have written to the Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson MP, to request clarification and assurances from the MOD on the future of non-military personnel at these sites.

In my capacity as Interim Deputy Leader, I have also offered assistance, where possible, to help ensure civilian staff have suitable sites and office accommodation to remain in York.”

Support for Small Business Saturday

Andrew Waller and Keith Orrell support small business Saturday

Small Business Saturday begins today, celebrating the many wonderful local small businesses here in York and across the UK.

Cllr Keith Orrell, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement (interim), is urging everyone to get involved in Small Business Saturday and take the opportunity to support local businesses in York.

Cllr Keith Orrell said:

“I am delighted to be supporting Small Businesses Saturday this year and I would strongly encourage anyone to take a trip out this Saturday and show support to local businesses in your community.

From the City Centre, to our more rural communities, York is blessed to be home to a rich variety of small and independent businesses. These local businesses make York such a unique and wonderful City to live in and visit. By showing support to our local business community, we can help encourage more businesses to set up shop in York and continue this proud tradition.”

Small Business Saturday is now in its fifth year and has reached millions of customers and businesses across the UK.  If you would like to get involved and find our more information, then please visit: https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/#get-involved.

 

Local companies encouraged to bid for Guildhall refurbishment work

Local companies can get into pole position for contracts on the £9m Guildhall redevelopment at a special event tomorrow Tuesday. (28 November).

City of York Council has appointed main contractor Interserve, who will be working in partnership with York-based M&E contractor SES Engineering Services, to transform the complex into a world-class civic and business venue.

Part of Interserve’s winning bid involved a commitment to using local suppliers. Now they want to meet the local construction companies who can help to deliver the high quality and best value redevelopment of the listed building.

There are opportunities for any construction-based companies and suppliers such as roofing, scaffolding, dryliners, demolition, groundworks, joinery, plastering, steelwork, masonry, heritage specialists, decorators, glazers, floorers, fire safety, lighting, mechanical, electrical wholesalers and more.

You can meet the team and find out more about available contracts and work on the scheme at the ‘Meet the Buyer’ event, which runs from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at West Offices.

Businesses can register their interest here (click): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/york-guildhall-meet-the-buyer-tickets-39832969484

 

Castle/Piccadilly redevelopment – more meetings

New river walkways and public spaces, new uses for Castle car park, and alternative parking are among the exciting ideas to regenerate Castle Gateway being shared over the next month.

Guided walks across the weekend will introduce the range of ideas to regenerate the huge area of the city ― taking in Piccadilly, Fossgate, Castle, Eye of York and much more – at a special launch event taking place this weekend.

Planners have generated the ideas based on what people said during the first stage of My Castle Gateway, a unique and bold new consultation approach introduced earlier this year. You can also view and feed back all the ideas online at www.york.gov.uk/CastleGatewayIdeas .

City of York Council has joined forces with local engagement experts My Future York to run a series of guided walks, interactive events and online discussions to explore what people want to see and do in the area.

Instead of producing a single masterplan, the Castle Gateway team has created a series of options to allow York’s residents and businesses to keep shaping the future.

However, the consultation process has been criticised for being too ponderous and lacking any sense of urgency. Decisions on the sites are needed urgently to avoid piecemeal development and seize the opportunity to regenerate an area which has been run down for too long.
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