From education to employment

Novus: Job market growth forecasted for North East economy

prison education

There will be a significant increase in job opportunities across the North East economy by 2028, according to new forecasts by leading education, skills and employability provider Novus (@Novuschange).

Using latest labour market insights, Novus has projected a 5.9% increase in job roles by 2028, with the creation of 57,197 new positions across the region.

However a net loss of more than 20,000 workers in the North East over the same period means that employers are likely to face a challenging recruitment environment.  Over 180,000 workers in the region will reach retirement age over the next four years, while only 157,406 young people aged 14-18 will be eligible to enter the employment market in the same period. This challenge is likely to lead to employers struggling to fill the jobs needed to boost the economic prospects of the region.

Novus Managing Director Peter Cox commented: “The outlook for the North East’s job market suggests that there will be lots of ‘high skill, high wage’ career opportunities within the local economy created over the next five years.

“While this provides plenty of reason for optimism, the drop in the size of the available workforce highlights the need for training and skills programmes that not only align with the rapidly-evolving jobs market but also ensure that as many people as possible are able to gain the skills that the local economy will need in the coming years.”

Novus, which delivers education and training in prisons across the North East, has identified the high-growth sectors that will shape the future employment market. These include: 

  • Professional, science and technology
  • Education
  • Accommodation and food service
  • Transport and storage
  • Public administration

In addition the research also identified the mining and quarrying, Information and Communication, manufacturing, construction and transportation and storage sectors as those with some of the highest wages per worker across the region.

Cox continued: “Novus works with people who are in custody and are the furthest from the labour market in the North East. It is crucial that, as the region’s political leaders look at their skills and economic growth strategies, the provision of prison education programmes which reduce reoffending and support offenders to address skills gaps in the economy upon release are not overlooked.

“This will require integration and collaboration between prison education programmes and local skills improvement plans to ensure that as many employers as possible are able to recruit the skilled workers that they will require to economic success.”

In a recent survey commissioned by Novus, 52% of voters in the North East said that prisons should focus on rehabilitation more than punishment, with 59% of respondents in the region saying that educating prisoners and developing their skills is a good way to use taxpayers money.

However, when told that reoffending costs the economy £18 billion every year according to Ministry of Justice data and that education is proven to reduce reoffending by 7.5 percentage points, support for educating prisoners and developing their skills in the region increased to 71%.

Cox added: “With the North East economy facing a potential workforce shortage by 2028, it will become even more critical that offenders have the opportunity to gain the skills that will help ensure that the region can capitalise on the forecasted labour market growth to unlock the economic opportunities this presents. “It is encouraging that the people of the North East recognise the value of equipping prisoners with the skills that will enable them to find secure and stable employment that positively contributes to the economy upon release.” 

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