Inclusive economies: Leeds City Council connecting residents to local opportunities

"At the end of the programme, participants were guaranteed an interview for work at the hospital. This resulted in some excellent employment outcomes for local residents."


In Leeds, St James’s University Teaching Hospital (‘Jimmy’s’) is located close to Lincoln Green, which has for many years been among the most deprived areas in England (consistently in the most deprived 1 per cent to 3 per cent), with high unemployment rates. The hospital is a major employer and recruits constantly, but struggles to employ people from its immediate neighbourhood.

To match Lincoln Green’s acute need for good-quality work with the opportunities available at the hospital, Leeds City Council sought to link skills demand within the health provider to opportunities for local residents. This initiative included a programme of consultation with the Lincoln Green community, to identify existing skillsets and skills levels, and an analysis to identify skills demand within the job vacancies at the hospital.

The intelligence gathered was used to design a targeted skills programme which was delivered to jobseekers in Lincoln Green. At the end of the programme, participants were guaranteed an interview for work at the hospital. This resulted in some excellent employment outcomes for local residents. Those who took up an entry level role gained secure work paid at the Real Living Wage, with clear pathways to progression.

The success of the initiative was such that it will be repeated in the Lincoln Green area, and used as the model for similar programmes in other parts of the city. Features that led to its success include:

• strong community engagement.
• building on existing assets and potential.
• good partnerships with local employers (in this case, the NHS).
• matching skills provision to skills demand and tangible job opportunities offering good quality work.
• the effective use of evidence in targeting interventions and designing programmes.