Economic development strategy

People and ideas

Newcastle Employment and Skills Group

The Newcastle employment and skills group (NESG), which is hosted by Newcastle College (Newcastle and Stafford College Group) has been established in Newcastle for over 10 years and brings together key providers who deliver in the borough.

Although we currently have historically low Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Income Support and Universal Credit levels, which are running at 1.9% (1,545) we still have over 5,000 people who have been out of work over a longer period of time claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA). These are the people who are furthest from the training and jobs market who require more intensive support from a range of agencies.

One of the NESG priority focus areas is to help people who are claiming ESA (Employment Support Allowance) into training and work, especially those who are struggling with mental health issues. The NESG is a great example of local providers coming together to find solutions to issues faced by local people who struggle to access training and work.

Stoke and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SSLEP)

The SSLEP skills strategy provides a framework within which to address the skills gaps and get the right skill mix to increase productivity through more focus on schools and business working together, further education and business working together and higher education providers and business working together. The three priorities are:

  • developing a more enterprising culture both at school and beyond
  • ensuring that young people and adults are equipped with basic employability skills required by local businesses
  • ensuring we are delivering the education and skills needed to fill jobs now and in the future

Newcastle and Stafford College Group (NSCG)

Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group are one of the region's leading provider of apprenticeships with a long and highly successful track record of delivery and over 2,000 apprentices. NSCG operates from two state-of-the-art college campuses, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford. Axia, based in Stoke-on-Trent, provides expert advice, guidance and support on all aspects of work based learning, including apprenticeships, traineeships, bespoke training and professional development.

We know that apprenticeships provide people with the chance to learn and to gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst receiving a weekly wage. They are a key component in the drive to increase employability and growth and a main route for increasing participation in education and training. NSCG support employers with apprenticeship levy investment, navigating the apprenticeship service and recruiting and selecting candidates.


We recognise that formal volunteering opportunities can offer similar routines to regular paid work and can help people who are unemployed build their skills, confidence and self-esteem to help them get back into training and work. The community and voluntary sector hub recently established at the Guildhall and managed by Support Staffordshire provides a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

We will continue to work with partners and the NESG to help people access training and work and especially those who are long term unemployed.

We will continue to support the priorities of the SSLEP to address skills gaps and get the right skill mix to increase productivity.