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Careers for young people, skills for all and this year's poppy appeal...

Welcome to my November blog entry. Last time I talked about all the current business news, this month I want to mention the next generation…

Working to provide young people with training and employment advice and opportunities is high on our agenda. Towards the end of summer, the council launched a new careers service for 16-19 year olds, offering advice and support to help young people into work, education or training. In October, scores of young people came along to our event at Orford Jubilee Hub where 98% applied for a job, apprenticeship or training course.

The event also launched 27 new apprenticeship opportunities with the council, offering the chance to gain real life experiences of the world of work and nationally-recognised qualifications at the same time. The deadline has now closed and the response has been fantastic, I look forward to meeting our new staff members. I encourage other local employers to create further opportunities like this, apprenticeships offer huge benefits to both trainee and business.

A couple of weeks ago I helped to launch the Warrington Skills Commission, which is an innovative new initiative aiming to ensure Warrington’s growth and economy in the future by planning for it today. We need local businesses to tell us what skills they will require in the future so that we can make sure the education and training sectors are meeting these needs.

We’re currently in the process of a series of workshops for all stakeholders and then there will be a public event in December, so if you have any thoughts or ideas please come along and let us know – details will be available on the council website and in the local press.

The WWISH adoption service is marking National Adoption Week between 5-11 November. If you haven’t heard about it, WWISH is a pioneering joint service between Warrington, Wigan and St Helens councils. It’s the first of its kind in the country and means wider opportunities to match children and parents. Throughout National Adoption Week, WWISH will be out and about with their Tree of Hope, which displays messages from local children in care. If you think you could provide a loving home then please come along and find out more, the team will be more than happy to advise you.

Children’s services have also been busy re-launching the council’s pledges to children and young people in care. The pledges (which you can download from our website) were put forward by members of Warrington’s Children in Care Council and agreed in 2010, but the re-launch allowed officers and councillors to reaffirm their commitment and dedication to these key promises.

And finally, November of course marks Remembrance Day and we were delighted to host the launch of Cheshire’s Poppy Appeal at Warrington town hall. I joined representatives from the Royal British Legion, the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (and their Regimental Goat, of course) and The Rider’s Branch of The Royal British Legion at the event, where Network Warrington also unveiled their wonderful “poppy bus”. Much hard work must go into ensuring that the public is able to obtain a poppy within every town and district across the country and I wish the Royal British Legion every success in this year’s collections. So don’t forget show your support, give generously, and wear your poppy with pride.

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