Skills the way forward for Hertfordshire’s Covid recovery as new strategy launched

Hertfordshire County Council offices, Hertford. Picture: DANNY LOO

A new Skills and Employment Strategy was been unveiled for Hertfordshire. - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Skills are being placed at the centre of the county's Covid recovery following the launch of a new employment strategy. 

Herts county council, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Work and Pensions have outlined a strategy designed to help with businesses thrive following the pandemic. 

Providing a roadmap up to 2024, they plan to meet employers’ needs and helping businesses thrive by accelerating and strengthening skills provision by supporting residents and providing young people with a pathway into work. 

Hatfield’s Cameron Paton is one of those youngsters the strategy is designed to support. 

The 16-year-old completed his GCSE coursework as a home-schooled student, but was unable to sit the final exams due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving him uncertain about his future. 

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HCC's services for young people helped Cameron secure a college course, and he was full of praise for the service. 

“I thought I had lost any opportunities for further education when I didn't take my GCSEs,” he said.  

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“I was contacted by HCC SFYP and I received a very detailed letter offering support through various groups. 

“I felt such joy and happiness when I secured my college place because being accepted meant I knew the direction my education was about to go in. This was a huge relief considering the effect the pandemic has had on my education as a whole.” 

Cameron will be starting his Level 2 Animal Care course in September, while he has also joined the Raising Aspirations project, designed to support and inspire home-schooled youngsters. 

“The Raising Aspirations group is truly an amazing place. It's all about gaining confidence, building you up and setting plans for your future,” he said. 

“It's really essential because with most home educated students, we miss out on a lot of things socially that others don't and so this group can fulfil the missing parts in our social lives.” 

Looking ahead to the future, he added: “I would like to build up the confidence to go and volunteer somewhere like an animal shelter just for the general experience that I can benefit from later in a job. I'd also like to generally expand my social life and be a bit more extroverted.”

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