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My priorities: 2. Jobs and Growth

Welcome back to my first blog of 2013. Before Christmas I started a series of articles about my priorities and I talked about what we are doing to make Brent a fairer place.

Today I want to talk about my second priority - jobs and growth.

Bringing more jobs to Brent, getting more Brent residents into work and increasing growth in the local economy are the keys to improving our lives and making Brent a better place to live.

But it's by no means easy, particularly in the current economic climate. Brent has a higher percentage of people out of work than the London average, and our average wage is lower than across the rest of the capital.

We also have an unusual economy within London - we have very few large businesses and a most of our employers are micro-businesses. This means they face a unique set of challenges.

Since I became Leader we have established a new Employment and Enterprise team, specifically designed to bring more jobs and growth to Brent, and to help local people access these opportunities.

The new employment team will bring together the range of services and resources already available to people trying to find work, and make them work in a more co-ordinated and easier to use way.

This will include a new team of six 'navigators', who will work with households to help them navigate the system, and act on their behalf in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.

This is an exciting and innovative scheme that should make a real difference to people who have been out of work for a long time.

We have also begun work to transform the Brent Adult Community Education Service (BACES), so that it is placed at the heart of our employment and enterprise efforts, and ensuring that the training and courses it provides will be specifically designed to get people back into work that pays a decent wage.

On the enterprise front, the team will be committed to building strong relationships with businesses in Brent in order to help them find the services and resources they need, and also to ensure we are able to work together as effectively as possible.

We will signpost businesses to useful resources and get their feedback on how we can change the way we operate to make their lives easier. In return we will be able to work together on key issues such as apprenticeships and the London Living Wage.

These new projects will work alongside our long-term and successful process of regeneration across Brent. This has seen the complete transformation of Wembley, with new shops, restaurants, cinemas and leisure facilities due to open later this year.

It has also seen the transformation of South Kilburn, Sudbury and Alperton. This creates new jobs and opportunities in the Borough and improves daily life for all of us.

These are just a few examples of the work we are doing to create more jobs and growth. It will take time to overcome the long-term weaknesses in our local economy, but are working night and day to make it happen.

Next time I will write about the actions we are taking to strengthen our community.

Written by Cllr Muhammed Butt