To view the original DWP source, click here
The European Social Fund (ESF) programme in England contributes to local growth by increasing labour market participation, promoting social inclusion and developing the skills of the potential and existing workforce. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the Managing Authority for the programme.
Since March 2015 the current ESF programme has been supporting projects across the country. At the end of August 2020, £2.3 billion of EU funding had been allocated, which has helped around 1.5 million people. ESF projects can run up to 2023.
As part of the Government’s overall growth activity, ESF is delivered with a range of partners, including other Government Departments and bodies across public, private and third sectors. EU funds require national co-financing (known as ‘match’ funding’) from either public or private sources. ESF in England works with four national Co-Financing Organisations (CFOs) which help commit, spend and manage some of the funds available and these are:
• Department for Work and Pensions (DWP);
• Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA);
• Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), and
• The National Lottery Community Fund, through their Building Better Opportunities programme.
As well as the CFO funding arrangements above, there are some local CFOs and organisations that can bid directly for funding, sourcing their own match funding for a project.
Take a look below at some local ESF projects across England that are helping people improve their employability, gain new skills, move towards and into work, or provide other positive outcomes; and how delivery has changed since March 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions were introduced.
North East and Yorkshire and Humber
Exploring Opportunities Humber
Exploring Opportunities provides engaging activities for unemployed and economically inactive people in the Humber area, to enable them to address personal barriers to employment, develop skills and build their employability, so that they can move towards and into work or other positive outcomes.
The project, run by the Humber Learning Consortium and co-funded by The National Lottery Community Fund also focuses on building the resilience of the local community. It is delivered with local partners with a strong track record of supporting people who are often socially excluded, including ex-offenders, the homeless, lone parents and people with disabilities into work, enterprise and further learning.
Specifically aimed at improving the lives of people aged 25 and over, support for individuals can include personal and social development, occupational-specific training, work experience and volunteering which help build confidence. Extra support is available to help address barriers such as poor mental health, financial problems and low functional skills, and to improve people’s knowledge and engagement with their local community.
At the end of September 2020, the project has supported over 1,200 participants, with over 750 participants exiting with positive outcomes of employment, education or job search.
Read more about Exploring Opportunities
Moving on Tyne & Wear North East
Moving on Tyne & Wear helps people in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside who are unemployed and have health barriers move towards and into training, education, employment or job search.
The project is co-funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. Its lead partner is Mental Health Concern, which works with around 10 public, private and third sector partners across Tyne & Wear.
A team of experienced navigators provide one-on-one support to people who are aged 18 or over, unemployed and have physical or mental health issues, additional learning needs, or disabilities. Bespoke action plans are created that are centred around each person’s background, skills and goals. Support services are available to address participant’s health barriers and to help them move closer to the job market. This may include access to education and training, specialist employment skills and help with job search, CV building and interview skills.
A specific Pathways project replicates core delivery for people with autism. In addition, an employer engagement team works closely with local employers to offer participants work experience, placements and employment opportunities. When people move on from the project, support is available to help them sustain employment and training outcomes.
From mid-March 2020, the project moved to remote working as a response to COVID-19. The navigators moved to using digital platforms, as agreed with each participant, and continue to provide core employability support. Navigators have also helped participants to manage their anxiety, increase their resilience and support their emotional wellbeing.
Read more about Moving on Tyne & Wear
Tees Valley Pathways & Routeways Programmes
The Tees Valley Pathways and Routeways Programmes aim to support over 9,000 people aged 15 to 29 across the Tees Valley who are unemployed or inactive, with the aim of progressing them into education, employment, training or self-employment.
The programmes are managed by Hartlepool Borough Council, are part-funded through the Youth Employment Initiative and delivered by a consortium of 20 partners from the public, private and voluntary sector, including Local Authorities, Colleges and training providers. Each participant has the support of an advisor, who provides personalised one-on-one support and impartial Information, Advice and Guidance.
Innovative activities, courses and opportunities help participants into work, education or further training. These includes activities to help improve communication or employability skills and offer provision focused on enterprise and self-employment. The programmes also offer employment and training routeways in partnership with employers linked to the Tees Valley Combined Authority Growth sectors, including Health and Social Care, Construction, Digital and Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics.
Up to the end of September 2020, the programme has engaged with a total of 8,462 young people.
Read more about Tees Valley Pathways and Routeways Programmes
Pathways to Success South Yorkshire
Pathways to Success works with unemployed and economically inactive individuals facing significant and often complex barriers to employment. It particularly helps those who have long-term health problems or disabilities.
The project covers the South Yorkshire local authority areas of Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield. It is managed by Sheffield City Council and delivered in partnership with the other local authorities working with numerous local providers. Individual support from key workers and personal advisers helps participants to understand and plan to address their barriers, creating a personal pathway to employment.
Individual action plans typically focus on employability, job search and interview techniques, skills development and the acquisition of occupation specific skills and certificates. Additional support includes links to specialist interventions, condition management, debt advice and behavioural change programmes.
Since the onset of COVID-19, partners, providers and their staff have had to innovate, with almost all delivery being done via phones and online. This has presented great challenges, including having to provide extensive support to those who have limited access to, or skills in the use of digital technology.
By mid-October 2020 the project has engaged with 926 participants, including 318 people with disabilities.
Read more about Pathways to Success
Action Towards Inclusion York, North Yorkshire and East Riding
Action Towards Inclusion provides support to the most disadvantaged groups in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP area who are furthest from the labour market and experience significant barriers to work. It provides support to address the disadvantages they face, helping them move towards and into job search, education, training or employment.
The project is led by Your Consortium, co-funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and is delivered through a partnership of over 30 organisations working within local communities. Key workers work one-on-one with individuals to mentor and help them overcome often significant and complex barriers related to health, finance and skills. By helping people who are most excluded, the project also aims to address the root causes of poverty that create barriers to work.
As much of the area is rural, key workers have often travelled to meet people closer to home – in cafes, libraries or other local venues. This has helped people feel less isolated and often increased their awareness of services available within their wider community. The involvement of rural partners who have local knowledge is vital in reaching the people who need support.
All delivery has been impacted by COVID-19. However, many participants have embraced technology and instead of travel costs, participant expenses have been used to help overcome digital exclusion. The majority of support during this time has been to help participants with their mental health, manage their finances and any crisis they may be facing.
By October 2020, the project has supported 2,299 people, 64% of which were considered economically inactive. 1,232 positive outcomes have been achieved, 40% of which have been into employment.
Read more about Action Towards Inclusion
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To view the original DWP source, click here