My View, Ros Jones - Town on track for the future

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One of the key issues currently facing Doncaster is the need to help more local residents secure highly skilled, well-paid jobs.

I am very pleased that we are successfully reducing unemployment in Doncaster, however it is still higher than ideal and it is estimated that one in four people in the borough earns less than the living wage.

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones launches the council's Fostering recruitment drive. Picture: Antony Oxley

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones launches the council's Fostering recruitment drive. Picture: Antony Oxley

I am determined that these figures improve and that more local people are able to benefit from a good job, with a good salary and good prospects for the future.

In order to achieve this aim, there are several steps we need to take.

We need to improve our school performance so that more young people leave school with a solid education and good results in their GCSEs and A-Levels.

Earlier this year, Ofsted reported that school improvement services in Doncaster were inadequate.

However, I was pleased that Ofsted also recognised the significant changes that have taken place since I became Mayor.

I want to see every school in Doncaster achieving a ‘Good’ or better standard and the report commented very positively on the improved relationships we have developed with local schools and the plans we are putting in place to support the necessary improvements.

We also need more high quality apprenticeships, so that people can learn while developing their skills in the workplace.

In the last year we created 275 apprenticeships and we are well ahead of my target to deliver 750 apprentices during my term of office.

I anticipate we will exceed 1,000 apprenticeships in total.

We need to encourage more people to go on to higher education and encourage people with specialist skills to come and work in Doncaster, so we need to generate those highly skilled, well-paid jobs within the borough.

That is why I am absolutely delighted that our hard work to bring a National High Speed Rail College to Doncaster is progressing so well.

Last week Doncaster was announced as one of only four places in the UK on the final shortlist for the prestigious national college.

The standard of our bid is clearly demonstrated by the level of our competition in the final four: Doncaster, Manchester, Birmingham and Derby.

Next week we deliver our presentation to the Government panel that will be making a recommendation on the final decision.

It won’t be easy to get past the winning post first, but we will push very hard, as bringing the rail college to Doncaster could be a real game-changer for our local economy and railway industry.

* Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster