The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched a new community grants scheme and recommissioned three existing projects with the Education Skills Funding Agency, all funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), which together will help around 8,000 local people between now and July 2021 to move into employment, apprenticeships or further training or progress in work.
The ESF-funded projects Access to Employment, Moving On and Skills Support for the Workforce, have been recommissioned because of their success in their first three years.
Since they were set up in 2016, Access to Employment and Moving On have supported 8,500 local people combined, while Skills Support for the Workforce has worked with 800 businesses. The three programmes delivered £27m of support in total to local people.
Dennis Mendoros, LEP Director and Chair of the ESIF Committee, which has oversight of the ESF programme in Lancashire, said: “We deliver some of the most successful ESF projects in the UK. Over the past three years, they have made a significant difference to many people’s lives in Lancashire, helping thousands of local people to learn new skills and improve their job prospects.
“They have had a huge impact in terms of fostering the economic health and well-being of the Lancashire’s workforce, promoting inclusive growth and maximising social value for the benefit of the local community as a whole.
“They are an essential part of the LEP’s strategy to drive economic growth and job creation, particularly in key sectors like construction, manufacturing, financial and professional services, creative and digital and health and social care.
“So our decision to continue them – and launch an exciting, new community grants scheme – is great news for local people and Lancashire as a whole.
“I would strongly encourage any individuals or community projects who feel they could benefit from any of the support we offer through our ESF projects to get in touch to find out more.”
Under the new community grants scheme, the LEP has made available a £780,000 pot to support local projects that ‘make a real difference for local people trying to get into work or having difficulty accessing mainstream training’ such as help with work skills, taster work experience or training, advice and counselling.
Community based organisations will be able to apply for small grants worth £20,000 over four funding rounds through to May 2021.
Access to Employment works with local employers to provide a personalised and flexible package of support to help unemployed adults into employment, apprenticeships or further training. It will be delivered by PeoplePlus and their partners.
A high proportion of local people who have benefitted from the programme since 2016 are disabled, have health problems, are long-term unemployed or lack basic reading and writing skills.
The Moving On Project focuses on young people who are not in education, employment or training and is delivered by Lancashire Colleges and partners.
Around 60 per cent of those taking part have gone into work or further learning.
Skills Support for the Workforce provides skills support across all sectors, offering accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses via local businesses.
Over the next three years, The Growth Company and their provider network will aim to support learners in workto progress in education and work-based apprenticeships.
To find out more about accessing support: