The Local Context
CAPE UK operates in two major cities in the north of England - Leeds and Manchester. Both of these grew as centres of industry in the last century - Manchester as a centre for the cotton trade and Leeds as the market centre for the Yorkshire wool trade. Both were centres of commerce which have faced a sharp decline over the last few decades and have experienced high levels of unemployment.
Leeds has had a major regeneration process over the last decade with a boom in the financial services sector. The city also houses many of the developing call centres (telephone mail order centres and financial services providers).
The CAPE Manchester group of schools is situated within the greater Manchester conurbation. The conurbation historically formed the industrial heartland of the UK. It is now, with UK government and European support, undergoing a transformation. Traditional industries have almost disappeared and there has been a massive growth in the service, arts, media and transport industries, amongst others.
However, despite these growths in tertiary industry, divisions between the rich and the poor in both areas have grown and the twin track city is recognised as a major problem. Certain areas of these cities have the highest rates of unemployment, and the poorest health and life expectancy of the country and yet other areas are amongst the most affluent and privileged. There are extensive employment opportunities for those with skills and qualifications, but for those with low skills there are very limited employment opportunities.