Sara’s Blog – Home office jobs for Staffordshire and grants for business

It was a welcome news last week when Home Secretary, Rt. Hon Priti Patel MP revealed plans to create more than 500 government jobs in Stoke-on-Trent over the next five years.

The Home Office is set to open an Immigration Caseworking Innovation Centre in the city, which will see the department dramatically increase its local footprint.

Initially there will be 50 caseworker roles, with a further 200 jobs within an asylum co-ordination hub.

Great news indeed for local employment as the Innovation Centre will expand to around 560 jobs by around 2025. The Home Office currently employs just 10 people in Stoke-on-Trent, out of a total UK workforce of 35,000.

In addition to the caseworker roles, the centre will include operational, IT, policy, and corporate functions, with the intention of offering ‘exciting career paths’ to local people, including apprenticeships.

And there are also plans to move several senior Civil Service roles to Stoke-on-Trent as part of the government’s Places for Growth programme.

The announcement follows lobbying of the Home Office on the jobs issue by the Chambers, Stoke-on-Trent’s MPs, and civic leaders.

As Priti Patel said, “This isn’t just about reallocating existing civil service jobs from London. It is about creating opportunities for young people in Stoke-on-Trent, with an apprentice first policy and a career ladder to support social mobility.

“There will be jobs in cutting edge technology, the sort of technology which will ensure we can deliver the big reforms which are needed.”

Home Office officials are in the process of securing funding for the Innovation Centre, and further details are expected soon about where the facility will be located, and when it will open.

Small and medium-sized businesses across Stoke-on-Trent can still apply for grant funding to help them get the most from digital technology.

The council has already paid out £11.5 million in Additional Restrictions Grant funding to businesses across the city to help them recover from the pandemic and is now making up to an additional £700,000 available using the remaining allocation of national Additional Restriction Grant funding.

The aim of the grant is to help businesses use digital technology to grow as they emerge from the pandemic. Grants of up to £10,000 are available and support could include digital marketing, website design, the use of digital platforms and the purchase of digital equipment.

The council are particularly interested in hearing from new businesses which have been trading for fewer than five years and may be struggling to establish themselves and grow. For such businesses, this is a great opportunity to adopt digital technologies and improve their digital capacity. The fund is being offered across all sectors and they are asking businesses to respond quickly as grants need to be claimed by 30 June 2021.

Successful applicants will have three weeks to purchase services to claim the grant. Businesses must provide receipts and proof of payments to access the funds. To find out more, visit www.stoke.gov.uk/businessgrants, where the latest information on support grants and the eligibility criteria is available. Grants need to be claimed by 30 June 2021.

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

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