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.
(more…)

York economy performing well but….

St Nicholas market popular this year

The start of “Business Week” in the City coincides with the publication of a progress report by “Make it York” (MIY). This is the QUANGO charged with developing the York economy and particularly the visitor sector and markets.

Reading the report, one might think that all was rosy in the garden.

There has been a steady stream of tourists visiting the City this year. They have partly been attracted by a series of festivals while other initiatives like the food court on the market have attracted favourable publicity.

The complementary York BID scheme has produced tangible improvements to the streetscape coupled with imaginative lighting schemes.

However, part of the success in attracting foreign visitors is down to the low value of the pound.

The MIY report is singularly short of figures.

One look around the City centre, at this the busiest shopping period of the year, reveals that key shop units are still empty several years after they become vacant. The pile of empty shipping containers on Parliament Street doesn’t help while the surface of the City’s most popular car park (Castle) is in an appalling condition. Advanced car parking space availability signs – and their “on line” counterparts – haven’t worked for over 4 years.

This all adds to a depressed feel in the “high street”.

The report – to be considered by a Council scrutiny committee on 28th November – considers progress against a limited number of targets. Some issues, like the shortage of labour and key skills, aren’t mentioned.

Nor is any attempt made to assess the impact that BREXIT will have on the City economy over the next five years or more.

We hope that Councillors, faced with a bland report, will ask questions which root out any complacency.

York Apprenticeship Graduation and Awards Ceremony: a celebration of business talent in the city

Over 100 apprentices from across York will be graduating at the seventh York Apprenticeship Graduation and Awards Ceremony next week (8 November).

The event will celebrate the achievements of young people and adults who have successfully completed their apprenticeship qualification and training. They will all receive a certificate presented by The York Guilds.

A total of 35 young people, adults and employers are also in the running for the 2017 York Apprenticeship Awards, which will be presented on the same night at the Grand Opera House.

Co-ordinated by City of York Council’s Skills Team, the awards were first introduced three years ago to recognise the individual and business benefits and excellence in the city’s apprenticeship landscape.

A panel of independent judges have whittled down the shortlist for five categories:

  • Apprentice of the Year Under 25 (smaller business).
  • Apprentice of the Year Under 25 (Larger Employer).
  • Apprentice of the Year Over 25.
  • Smaller Employer of the Year and Larger Employer of the Year.Julia Massey, City of York Council Skills Team, said: “The nominations show the richness and diversity of apprenticeship talent in York. They highlight how apprenticeship training is supporting the career development of both new recruits and existing staff as well as the growth of York businesses, both large and small.”

    Finalists for Employer of the Year are Acorn Finance, Fera Science Ltd, Garbutt & Elliott LLP, Gear 4 Music, Prospect Health and The Smiles Room (Dentist Practice).

    Finalists for the Over 25s category include staff working in agriculture business management and the health and care sector.

    Finalists in the Under 25s category include new recruits working in accountancy, electrical engineering, chef-ing, digital marketing, science laboratories, front of house, business admin, stone masonry, IT software and dental nursing.

Employers lining up to recruit at Acomb Jobs Fair

Acomb Jobs Fair has around 25 local employers, employment agencies and training providers lined up for the event which is open to all on 15 November 2017 at the Parish Church Hall.

City of York Council, through its 4CommunityGrowthYork project, is delivering the fair together with Job Centre Plus. Besides recruitment opportunities on offer, there will be help with job searches, further training and support into employment.

On Wednesday 15 November from 10am-2pm at the Parish Church Hall on Front Street, Acomb, York YO24 3DW, employers including Tesco, Lindum Group, Park Inn by Radisson, Gear4Music, HM Prisons and the Probation Service as well as City of York Council will be looking to recruit for live job vacancies.

In addition, job agencies including Bright Beginnings Childcare Agency, Job Centre Plus and WorkWithYork will be looking for people to fill current and future vacancies.

Employment support will also be on offer by York Learning, thanks to support from 4CommunityGrowthYork. Staff will be on hand to help people looking for work to brush up their CV-writing and job application skills, as well as helping people find the right sort of training to set them on the career path they want.

Councillor Keith Orrell, interim executive member for economic development and community engagement, said: “Our job fairs are very successful for workers and employers alike. I’m delighted that the council’s York Learning organisation is being supported to attend by 4CommunityGrowthYork to build on our ongoing work to help York residents secure jobs and the training opportunities they want.

“I’d encourage anyone interested to visit and see the opportunities at what promises to be a really worthwhile event.”

Find out more at http://yorklearning.org.uk/yorkjobsfair/