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Hartlepool Borough Council’s Jobs and Skills Team earns praise from Ofsted

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Jobs and Skills Team earns praise from Ofsted

Julian Heward

Jobs & Skills has again been rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted following a full inspection which took place from 5th to 8th December 2023.

Part of Hartlepool’s Community Hubs, the Jobs & Skills team offers a wide range of services for adults including careers advice, learning opportunities, qualifications, personal development activities, workforce development, volunteering and employment support. All of these services can easily be accessed by local residents through any of the Community Hubs.

It’s the first full Ofsted inspection the team has received since 2013. It is also the first since it became part of the Community Hubs in 2022 in a move designed to make its services even easier to access by the whole community.

The inspectors found that the service has created a curriculum that is targeted effectively at the most disadvantaged residents in the borough, including those with low skills, those who feel excluded from the wider community through social isolation and the barriers of poor mental and physical health, and refugees.

“Most learners achieve their learning goals and qualifications and progress on to the next level of study, either with the service or with another provider, and a growing number of learners use their English skills to gain employment,” said the inspectors. “Learners on inclusion courses, such as volunteering, grow in personal confidence and take on roles with voluntary and community groups.”

They noted that “learners benefit significantly from the additional services available at the Community Hubs. They can access support for their physical and mental health, receive financial advice and use the resources available in the library and digital suites.” They also commented: “Learners’ attendance at lessons is high … they thrive in the calm and orderly learning environments created by the service and … teachers check up on the welfare of their learners and show care and attention towards them.” The inspectors also praised the efforts of the staff to organise a wide range of enrichment activities to enable learners to integrate into the local community and to gain a sense of its history and culture.

Gemma Ptak, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Assistant Director (Preventative and Community-Based Services), said: “Whether people want to gain new skills, study for a qualification, become a volunteer or progress into their chosen career, the friendly team at Jobs & Skills can support them to achieve that.” “We are delighted that the team’s commitment to, and passion for, helping people to reach their goals has been reflected in Ofsted’s report.” “We are also really pleased that the inspectors noted how much the service is thriving as part of, and complemented by, our Community Hubs.”

Councillor Bob Buchan, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Adult and Community-Based Services Committee, added: “The ethos of Hartlepool’s Community Hubs is to bring people together and to give them opportunities, support and encouragement to live their best lives, and the same is true of Jobs & Skills. “I congratulate the Jobs & Skills team on maintaining their ‘Good’ rating under the new Ofsted inspection framework and on the praise which they have earned from the inspectors, which is very well deserved.”