The Common Ground partnership had the aim of establishing “Common Ground” with employers, promoting the principle that diversity pays and that by identifying and building on the latent skills of the population, it is possible to move towards a more productive local economy and a more inclusive society.
The aim was to pilot new and innovative ways of inclusion to help facilitate access to the labour market for those who had particular difficulty in being integrated/re-integrated into the labour market and who were therefore at risk of further exclusion. The Common Ground Development Partnership implemented a wide range of approaches to tackle inequality and discrimination in the Kirklees (West Yorkshire) labour market as part of the EQUAL programme
Kirklees is an area of rich diversity and great potential; however a patchwork of provision had developed over recent years, giving support to particular groups, areas, employers with existing labour market measures which was not altogether effective in addressing the problems faced by the target groups. The Common Ground Development Partnership was formed in October 2001 and brought together key organisations in Kirklees from the public sector, education and training organisations, employers and the voluntary and community sector. The EQUAL project was created after a process of widespread consultation that resulted in 21 organisations signing up to become members. They included voluntary organisations, community groups, the public employment service, the Learning and Skills Council and the local Chamber of Commerce. A Phase 2 partnership is underway ‘Common Ground, Breaking New Ground’.
Common Ground has had a significant impact at local level. Nearly 900 individuals and over 100 businesses have benefited from the wide range of support available through the DP.