Stockton JSNA


Strategic issues

Issue number

1 = highest priority

Strategic Issue


Barriers to work and high unemployment in deprived areas
The more deprived areas of the Borough have low levels of employment, and there is a strong correlation between employment deprivation and other types of deprivation, e.g. lower incomes, poorer health outcomes, and lower skills levels. 

Many people in Stockton-on-Tees are reliant on benefit payments yet are not seeking work due to a range of barriers including illness, disability, a need to care for another person, lack of transport, lower level skills, confidence reduction and many other issues.




Lack of Sustainable jobs and factors limiting labour demand

The jobs market has and will continue to change.

Trends include

  • An increased requirement for higher level skills and qualifications in the future labour market.
  • A reduction in some occupations such as sales, service, plant, process, machine operation and elementary occupations.
  • An increase in zero hours contracts and part time work.

These trends are likely to result in increased competition for sustainable jobs and an increase in the number of people lacking the skills to gain employment (see Section 3) or working in roles where they would prefer more hours or set hours.

Under-employment represents people that are not working the amount of hours they want to or feeling that they have skills/qualifications that are either under##utilised in their current role, or that they can’t access the jobs they are qualified for due to specific barriers.

The rise of zero hour contracts and part##time employment has left some people working in jobs where they would prefer more hours or more sustainable work.

Another form of under##employment is a lack of graduate opportunities in the local labour market so university leavers potentially find work at a lower skill and pay level than they would like or move to parts of the country where more graduate opportunities exist.  



Mismatch between skills supply and demand

There is a mismatch between people’s skills, qualifications and job ambitions (labour supply) and the skills and qualifications required for jobs in the local labour market (labour demand).

Stockton-on-Tees has both an increasing number of job vacancies and a higher than average number of claimants of unemployment benefit.    

Some occupations such as carers and nurses are seeing skills shortages being intensified by factors such as an ageing population and replacement demand.  The increasing use of technology is resulting in a growing demand for people with skills and qualifications in Engineering and ICT.

What people are studying, the qualifications they hold and the jobs they are seeking are not aligned to the jobs on offer. The level of skills and qualifications required in the local labour market are forecast to increase, which is likely to impact these issues further.



Lack of Apprenticeship Opportunities and awareness of Vocational Routeways

Vocational routeways, such as apprenticeships, are aligned to the labour market and should help to rectify any mismatches that exist.  There are proven benefits to an individual’s health and wellbeing that can result from apprenticeship opportunities, whilst also giving an individual employment status. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that improvements could be made in the awareness and availability of apprenticeship opportunities and the different pathways that could exist to an apprenticeship opportunity, particularly advanced and higher level ones. 


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