He met founder and chief executive, Dr Mohammed Ali OBE and deputy chief executive Adeeba Malik MBE, members of staff and people who have recently been helped by QED into employment.
Mr Hain said: “I am really pleased to be able to see for myself the difference QED is making to both individuals and the community. We want people to get the particular support they need to help them into employment, such as improvements in the quality and affordability of childcare, help with developing skills, and providing financial support, so that work pays. “
QED provides free, tailored, pre-employment training courses, such as job interview practice, confidence building, IT and English language, to people who might otherwise struggle to find work. In recent months, trainees have gone on to find a variety of jobs including customer services assistant, bus driver, school lunch supervisor, kitchen porter and shop assistant.
Mr Hain added:
“The government’s aim is to extend opportunity of employment to all, raise the employment rate to 80 per cent and reduce the numbers of people of working age who are workless and dependent on benefits.
“We know that work is the best route out of poverty. Our ‘In Work, Better Off’ document makes robust proposals aimed at helping vulnerable people into sustainable work by providing pre-employment support and job opportunities. That is why I am calling on local businesses, communities and individuals across the region to let us know what they think about the proposals in our ‘In Work, Better Off consultation.”
Chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, who founded QED-UK in 1990, said:
“Almost 20 years of experience has taught us that meaningful employment is the most effective factor in building and sustaining cohesive local communities.
“We work hard to influence Government policy and we are delighted that Peter Hain has met some of the people we have helped onto the training and employment ladder.
“I discussed with Peter how we can work with his department to narrow the employment gap that exists between South Asian people and the general population.”
Mr Hain also met Bradford Jobcentre Plus staff, to hear their views on the government initiatives and the Green Paper.
He said: “With the help of hard working staff in Jobcentre Plus, the government has transformed work and opportunity in Britain since 1997, with 2.6 million more people in jobs.
“Our proposals set out measures aimed at helping lone parents, the long term ill, disabled people and in particular ethnic minority groups into sustainable work. Our staff have both a key role in helping to deliver these objectives and valuable knowledge and skills to meet the challenge ahead of us.”
Across Yorkshire and the Humber the number of unemployed claimants has fallen by 46% since 1997, and long-term unemployment has fallen by 74% over the same period.