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City Region launch action plan to boost employability skills

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has today published an action plan setting out 12 priorities for improving employability skills across the city region.

Set out in its Employability Skills for Growth Action Plan, launched at an event hosted by Knowsley Council, priorities identified include:

• Identifying any gaps in existing employability skills provision across the city region
• Increasing support for residents already in work to improve their employability skills
• Developing routes to high-level employability and English, Maths and digital skills for those in lower level roles to ensure the city region is ready for the development of further technical and professional jobs.

The Employability Skills for Growth Action Plan draws on existing evidence and primary research with key stakeholders across the city region to identify actions to address existing employability skills gaps and potential future demands from employers.

It sets out actions for the Combined Authority, local training providers and employers to address current and future employability skills needs in the city region.

Councillor Ian Maher, Liverpool City Region Portfolio Lead for Skills and Apprenticeships, said: “The priorities identified here are challenging and will require input from many partners to deliver. In some cases, they will require public sector reform, and we will use the Ways to Work programme to provide vital intelligence and learning to help us do that effectively.

“Working together we have made great strides in recent years, and there is more to be done to drive collaborative working across providers and employers for the benefit of us all.

“A sustained collaborative effort is required to see our ambitions realised.”

The report also identifies ways in which providers and employers across the city region are tackling the employability skills gap through schemes including:

The Ways to Work programme – delivered by the six Local Authorities across Liverpool City Region, this programme provides a range of services to residents across the Liverpool City Region to enhance their employability skills and assist them in gaining employment. The project is designed to assist unemployed people, and people not in education, employment or training, aged 16 plus.

The Working Futures programme – delivered by a partnership of 13 not-for-profit training providers based in Liverpool City Region, Working Futures supports people aged 16 to 29 who are not currently in employment, education or training (NEET) to take control of their own lives and move towards a better future.

Sefton cycling route in first phase of a 600km City Region network

Work is set to begin on the first phase of a potential 600km key network of cycling and walking routes across the Liverpool City Region.

Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority ratified the £8.3m funding for the first 55km phase of the network– including a Sefton route– at its meeting on Friday (December 14).

The 15km route between Southport and Seaforth will link into a wider strategic cycling route into Liverpool City Centre. The route links major growth areas with new areas of housing and completes the Sefton Coastal cycle route.

The proposed 600km cycling and walking network is based on upgrades to around 31 key routes across the Liverpool City Region over the next 10 years.

The network will be planned on a whole city region basis, both improving links to the public transport network and between residential areas, employment, training and retail sites.

Meanwhile, work is already underway on bidding for funding for the next phase of the network with the launch of a questionnaire on people’s cycling and walking habits to help shape what a wider network would look like. It can be accessed here .

Two thirds of all journeys in the city region are less than five kilometres but half of those are made by car. Through the Local Journeys Strategy, Steve Rotheram and the Combined Authority recognise that getting the infrastructure right is key to encouraging people out of their cars, particularly for shorter journeys.

The cycling and walking network is one of the first actions bringing the Local Journeys Strategy to life.

Making places walking and cycling-friendly not only reduces congestion, improves air quality and brings significant health benefits, it also has wider economic benefits – boosting inward investment and attracting new talent by helping create the places that people want to live and work in.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“This route will mark the beginning of a much-awaited era of clean travel in Sefton that will give our residents better access to walking and cycling opportunities, cleaner air and an infrastructure that supports alternative travel.”

The programme will also see the management of new wood and grassland areas and the planting of trees alongside the routes.

In addition, the funding will support a new pilot project by Liverpool John Moores University, trialling innovative methods of collecting cycle and walking trip data and the development of a cycling app and journey planner.

The LCR Transport Partnership was successfully awarded £8.3m ERDF Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) funding for the first phase of the cycling and walking network, with the LCR Combined Authority giving approval to draw down this funding. Match funding for the project is being sought from the

Transforming Cities Fund and other contributions will come from the LCR CA’s constituent local authorities.

No Appeal over Judicial Review

Sefton Council has taken the difficult decision not to appeal the Judicial Review decision relating to the A5036 Port Access Road.

Unfortunately last month Sefton Council lost its legal fight to order Highways England (HE) to re-consult on proposals to build a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley Country Park which in their view would improve access to the Port of Liverpool.

Mr Justice Kerr ruled that he would not order Highways England to re-consult and include the tunnel option for the proposed Port Access route through Rimrose Valley.

A letter has just been sent to Highways England informing them Sefton Council will not make an appeal about this particular decision and the Council will now only follow its statutory duties on the matter and will not co-operate further with HE.

Cllr Ian Maher, Labour leader at Sefton Council, said: “This was a difficult decision for us as we still firmly believe Highways England should engage with our communities on a tunnel option.

“We also believe Highways England should try much harder to find a better solution which would not have such a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of our residents.

“Not only will their plans deprive us of a much loved urban green space, it will also by Highways England’s own admission have a negative impact on vehicle pollution which goes against the Government’s own agenda to improve air quality.

“One of our major considerations for not appealing was the statement in court by Highways England’s legal Counsel that we would be able to object later in the process by advocating for the tunnel as a less environmentally damaging alternative.

“So, while we will not appeal this particular judgement, we will be watching carefully the actions of Highways England throughout the statutory consultation stage to ensure that it is conducted in such a way that all affected communities can have their say on Highways England’s disastrous plan. In no way is it a closed matter and we will continue to fight for the benefit of our communities.

“If the process moves through to the Examination Phase we will be making appropriate representations on behalf of our communities regarding the significant adverse impacts the current preferred option has on everyone who lives and works in the area.

“We will continue to comply with our statutory responsibilities in this process and will always look after and advocate for the interests of our residents. However, we will not otherwise co-operate with Highways England in a scheme which, in our view, will leave all our communities much worse off.”

 

Getting ready for your new trains – Next phases of Merseyrail network platform upgrades announced

Information about the next three phases of platform upgrades to prepare the Merseyrail network for the arrival of new, state of the art trains in 2020 is now available to help people plan their journeys.

Network Rail is just days away from completing works for Phase 2 at Bank Hall station on the Southport line.

Upgrades involve altering the height and width of station platforms and realigning track. This is vital to ensure the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge, providing better access for all passengers.

Phases

There are 11 phases of work scheduled until June 2019. During each phase, some stations will be temporarily closed however high quality, rail replacement buses will keep passengers moving.

A summary of the next three phases are below and passengers are advised that further information including timetables is available at Merseyrail stations and on the Merseyrail website.

Phase 3: Wirral loop line: James St, Moorfields, Lime St, Liverpool Central stations, from 27 December 2018 – 2 January 2019

Commercial buses and the Mersey Ferries may be a good cross-river option.

Phase 4: Kirkby line: Kirkby, Fazakerley and Rice Lane stations, from 5 – 13 January.

Phase 5: Hunts Cross line: Brunswick to Hunts Cross, starting with one day of work on 19 January, then 21 -26 January 2019.

Sandhills to Hunts Cross (including Liverpool Central), from 20 and 27 January 2019

More information about Phases 6 to 11 including rail replacement bus services and alternative travel options will be available a few weeks before the start of each phase.

Key advice:

  • Check before you travel, especially during the Christmas period as timetables may change.
  • Plan ahead – use journey planners.
  • Leave more time for your journey.
  • Consider avoiding travelling at peak times where possible.
  • Consider your options –including commercial buses and the Mersey Ferries.

These vital works need to happen to ensure that station platforms across the Merseyrail network are compatible with the new trains and their ground breaking, sliding step technology that will provide unassisted access for all.

This will mean that wheelchair users can board the train without a ramp and passengers with prams and cycles can get on and off the train with ease. This technology represents a pioneering approach for the UK.

Merseytravel, Merseyrail and Network Rail have worked collaboratively on this project and significant planning work has been carried out to minimise the time needed to complete these important works and reduce disruption to passengers.

Businesses and organisations are advised to think about what they may need to put in place to support staff and customers.

Check out the animation to find out more about the works and the new trains.

Free bus services on Christmas Day

Merseytravel is once again offering free bus services on Christmas Day, to help people make hospital visits or to spend time with their friends and family.

Buses will operate a limited service from around 12 noon until around 6pm on routes serving hospitals across Merseyside.

Councillor Liam Robinson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Portfolio Holder, said: “We are one of a very few areas that operate services on Christmas Day, which can be a lifeline for people who would otherwise not be able to see their loved ones in hospital on this very special day.

“Although these services are provided primarily for hospital visiting, anyone who can use them to visit friends and family along the routes is very welcome to do so.”

Christmas Day Services are listed below:

10A between Queen Square Bus Station, Page Moss, Whiston Hospital and St Helens Bus Station.

12A between Queen Square Bus Station, Stockbridge Village and Huyton Bus Station.

21A between Liverpool ONE Bus Station, Walton Vale, Black Bull and Kirkby Bus Station and Kirkby Tower Hill.

44 Between Formby Duke Street, Southport Hospital Town Lane and Crossens Rufford Road.

62A between Crosby Islington, Bootle The Strand Stanley Road and Aintree University Hospital.

102 Between Broadgreen Hospital, Alder Hey Hospital, Croxteth Park Stand Farm and Aintree University Hospital.

201 between Queen Square Bus Station, Royal Liverpool Hospital and Speke Morrisons Bus Facility.

410 between New Brighton Kings Parade, Woodside Bus Station and Clatterbridge Hospital.

H1 between Mill Park Clifton Avenue, Arrowe Park Hospital and New Brighton Kings Parade

St Helens Bus Station.

H2/3 between Whiston Hospital and St Helens Bus Station.

No other bus services will operate. No trains will operate. Mersey Ferries will not operate.

For further information check Merseytravel Christmas & New Year Transport Guide, www.merseytravel.gov.uk/travel-updates or ring Customer Services on 0151 330 1000.

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