Helping Leeds citizens out of poverty and into work

Senior councillors have agreed an innovative new way of working to help Leeds residents find training and employment opportunities, and ultimately help get them out of poverty.

Poverty is one of the biggest challenges Leeds is facing, which is why members of Leeds City Council’s executive board have agreed proposals to develop a new way of working, and a range of initiatives to help more people get easier access to training and employment advice and opportunities across the city.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“We want to do all we can to stop people suffering and help them get out of poverty. The best way to do this is by helping people find training and employment opportunities, which will not only help them financially but also raise their aspirations and help combat health and wider social issues.

“Poverty and deprivation is one of the biggest challenges our city is facing. By focusing our support and advice services on the people who need them most we can start to improve the lives and futures of people who find themselves living on the breadline.”

The innovative approach, which is part of a package of initiatives called ‘Citizens@Leeds’, will bring employment help and advice right into the heart of communities, by using new community hubs as a base to improve, tailor and deliver training and employment advice services for local people in need of work.

The council will also target the support to those most in need and those furthest from work, and use its position as a major employer to target its own jobs and opportunities to those most in need, as well as influencing other employers in the city to do the same.

The Citizens@Leeds approach changes the way the council currently works to bring together the services that will help people get access to jobs and training. To achieve this, the council will work closely with existing partners to improve information sharing and intelligence gathering to maximise the use of existing resources and target those people furthest from work.

It will also bring different council services and partners together to develop a more customer-focused approach to ensure that any barriers to accessing training and employment are removed or can be overcome.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for leisure and skills said:

“The council currently supports over 10,000 residents each year with information, advice and guidance and job brokerage services through its network of Jobshops. We also target 7,000 residents each year with low skills levels to help them re-engage with learning, and develop new skills and qualifications to support them into work.

“However, we know we can do more, so we wanted to create a way of reaching even more people. These new initiatives will bring the services into the heart of the community to help people do whatever they need to do to gain the skills and experience to find work. Ultimately, helping people into work is the most sustainable way of reducing financial hardship for individuals and the wider city.”

The additional impetus now being provided by the Citizens@Leeds approach will look at ways in which more support can be provided to those furthest away from the labour market, those individuals and families suffering financial hardship and groups who face particular barriers to securing employment.


There are currently 64,510 benefit claimants aged 16 to 64 years in Leeds and 1,400 young people aged 16 to 19 years old not in employment, education or training. There are also 2,465 unemployed 16-24 year olds who have been out of work for more than 6 months. Over 10% of the working age population in Leeds have no qualifications and 12.7% are only qualified to Level 2.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk