A Tapestry of Services: Employment, skills and careers support in East Birmingham and North Solihull


Amidst a workforce crisis, with 2.5m off work due to long-term ill health, this report, in collaboration with Birmingham City Council, has sought to understand the existing employment, skills and careers services in East Birmingham and North Solihull, a ‘Levelling Up Zone’ in the WMCA area which has many strengths, but which compared to other areas is economically deprived and has low employment rates.

We found a ‘tapestry of services’ in the area, as two of our interviewees eloquently described it. Service providers, local government officials and civil servants told us that these services are interconnected, sometimes overlapping, and at other times only held together by a few key threads.

Interviewees told us that a lack of awareness of the full ‘employment, skills and careers system’, among citizens and sometimes also among service providers, means that opportunities aren’t always fully utilised. They called for better communication and partnership working, as more important than introducing additional services, for example.

Much more should be done to empower local areas to join up services. Our report includes a case study of an excellent Birmingham and Solihull programme called ‘I Can’, which has created a pathway for people to access entry-level employment in the NHS and is a great example of a joined-up approach.

Read the full report.

Read the I CAN case study.