Common Ground - Breaking New Ground

Date

12/10/01 - 31/03/2009

Contact

Heather Waddington

Country

United Kingdom

Development Partnership

Kirklees Council

Demand

Kirklees is the 3rd largest Metropolitan District in the UK, rich in diversity and great potential. SMEs make up 99.4% of its local businesses, making it very difficult to promote the benefits of a diverse work force. Activity focused on helping two key groups and ways to connect them: • People excluded or who were struggling to stay in the labour market • Employers who were reluctant to employ socially excluded people.

Solution

Common Ground looked at diversity as a whole rather than targeting specific groups with each project carefully tailored to meet the needs of local communities using a 'bottom up' approach. All activity aimed to establish a new understanding & co-operation between disadvantaged people seeking work & local employers. By working with employers, those most removed from the labour market, those finding it difficult to stay in jobs and/or progress, had their chances increased in gaining sustainable employment. This common approach taken by the Partnership is relevant to all projects across Europe with six emerging lessons, illustrated by a series of posters • Change begins with understanding others • Change begins with you • Take small steps - evolution not revolution • Think of the Bigger picture • Change needs to be sustainable • Welcome the diversity of diversity

Products

Examples include • Reaching Common Ground booklet - lessons learned • Posters promoting the six key themes • Soft Outcomes Toolkit - a computerised system measuring people's soft skills & distance travelled • GRADES benchmarking toolkit • ChoiceKit toolkit - looking at redesigning & repackaging work

Results

Common Ground took a holistic approach to tackling inequalities concentrating on actions which could be built in to everyday policy & practice. The project • Improved retention & progression routes by introducing increased flexibility & performance processes • Provided support to employers bringing to their attention sectors of their potential workforce which had much to offer but were not being recognised • Linking deprived communities to job opportunities and nearby growth