Welcome to the Autumn 2018 European Social Fund (ESF) Newsletter that has been produced by Coventry & Warwickshire’s ESF Technical Assistance Team.
In this edition, we bring you up to date on projects launched through the 2014-2020 ESF Programme in Coventry & Warwickshire to raise skills levels within our workforce and support local residents to access employment.
We’ll also give you some interesting examples of what this funding is achieving for our local residents and businesses.
Opportunity to apply for European Social Fund monies
DWP has launched a call to run projects tackling inequality in the labour market and will concentrate on inequality for some marginalised groups, geographical discrepancies and those suffering worklessness due to ill health.
If you have queries on the call document or would like an informal conversation about the opportunity please contact a member of the Technical Assistance Team, contacts listed at the end of this newsletter
For more information about how to apply, click here: https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/access-to-employ...
Big Lottery Building Better Opportunities update
We are delighted to tell you all three of our Coventry & Warwickshire contracts which were due to close in December have been given a short extension whilst Big Lottery continues to prepare for the second half of the ESF programme.
Accelerate which supports unemployed adults and Progress which supports young people will both continue until June 2019 and Breakthrough which offers financial capability training carries on until March 2019.
Watch this space for more updates about round two.
Accolades for Active Inclusion in Warwickshire provider Rethink
Warwickshire Mental Health Employment Service was among the winners at the recent 102TouchFM Pride of Warwick District Awards as the Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth.
The service, which is part of the Active Inclusion in Warwickshire project, funded by the European Social Fund and Warwickshire County Council, was recognised for its excellence of service when it won the Carer of the Year award
It was also nominated among the finalists for the Community Impact Award and The Pride of Warwick Award.
The mental health element of the service, delivered by Rethink, supports people who have been involved with secondary Mental Health Services and helps them into work or to retain their current employment.
The three nominations recognise the fantastic work done in the local community by the whole team: Service manager Nicola Hall, and team members Thomas Gibbons, Karen Twigger, Louise Salt, Senita Jassi, Marc Woodley, Patrick Greenfield, Jan Richards and Julie Horseman.
Along with senior management Michaila Tope and Melanie Lewis, they have worked tirelessly to continuously improve the service for the benefit of Warwickshire residents.
Nicola Hall, service manager, said: "It has been a fantastic effort from all of the team at the operational level of the service through to the senior management team. We have all worked together to contribute to the continued improvement and development of the service and it is now so rewarding to see all of our hard work paying off.
"This recognition is a credit to the team who have worked so hard and have remained so committed to the service users they support."
This year the service has supported 193 people and helped 11 people with severe and enduring mental health issues to achieve employment. Rethink has also developed a database of over 200 local employers to work with to try and secure work placements and employment for service-users.
If you are an employer interested in supporting a person with mental health difficulties to gain employment, or would like support from the service, please contact Rethink on 01926 419227.
Further details can be found by clicking here: https://www.rethink.org/services-groups/services/warwickshire-employment...
Anabell finds job thanks to Ambition
Anabell registered with the Job Shop as she was looking for support with searching for a new role within human resources. Prior to joining the Job Shop Anabell had gained a qualification and experience within human resources, however the company that she had been working for went into administration, so she wanted to get in touch with the Job Shop to see if she could gain further experience within this field.
After registering with the Job Shop, Anabell was put on the Ambition programme, and was provided with a job coach, who she was able to discuss her options with. Her job coach Ruth, offered Anabell the opportunity to attend the Business Admin fair at the Job Shop, where an advisor from the Employer Hub recognised Anabell’s potential. Anabell was made aware of the recruiter position that was currently being advertised at the Job Shop. On receipt of the job description, Anabell tailored her CV to the role and was invited to attend an interview with the employer.
Anabell got offered the recruiter position, and is now working successfully as a recruiter for Universal Care Services, and believes that this experience will allow her to develop her skills further, and continue to enhance her career within human resources.
The Ambition programme is funded through the European Social Fund. Find out more about the Ambition programme by calling the Job Shop on 024 7678 5740.
New skills hub for Nuneaton town centre
A new Skills Hub in Nuneaton has officially opened in a converted former pub in Abbey Street.
PET-Xi Training has launched its Skills Hub in the former Pig & Whistle in the town centre to make it easier for local people to access support to secure employment and better-paid jobs.
PET-Xi Training will run its Positive Futures and Employment Support schemes, co-funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority, the European Social Fund and Warwickshire County Council and PET-Xi, from its new location to reach its target of helping over 1,000 people find work or secure a place at college.
Warwickshire County Council's Skills for Employment programme is pumping £275,000 into the programme over three years.
Representatives from Skills for Employment, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Work and Pensions were among those who attended the official launch.
The PET-Xi vocational team will be working with employers, colleges and training providers to focus on young people, disabled people and other vulnerable groups through its specific job advice sessions and specialist support.
An ITQ suite has been installed to increase skills as part of the wider West Midlands Combined Authority Digital Strategy by teaching highly-employable IT skills in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and IT security.
Fleur Sexton, managing director of PET-Xi Training, which has its headquarters at the Westwood Business Park in Coventry, said that opening the new hub in Nuneaton was a fantastic opportunity to help more people.
“We want to help people regardless of their age to take the next step in their lives, whether that is a better-paid job, securing an apprenticeship or gaining a place at college by helping them to secure the skills they need.
“Opening the PET-Xi Skills Hub will make it easier to engage with local residents and to encourage the communities themselves to use their existing social networks to help spread the word about the opportunities and support there is available.”
Chelsea 'Accelerates' forward with new job
Being out of work for over a year had caused Chelsea to suffer from low self-esteem and contributed to sending her anxiety ‘through the roof’.
Money issues were starting to deepen and life as a single-parent meant she was struggling to get the time or focus needed to search for the right job, a frustration that built with many of her applications not even receiving a response.
After contacting the Accelerate project, the former administrator was assigned a Journey Guide to look at her situation and understand what barriers were stopping her from getting back into employment.
“Having someone to just listen and provide possible solutions straight away was a massive relief and helped push away some of those dark clouds,” explained Chelsea.
“I was in a rut and needed to get out of it so they referred me to the Sky Blues in the Community’s Sports Leadership programme, which was fantastic. It gave me some of my confidence back and helped me get active again, which is great for helping you come to terms with anxiety.”
She went on to add: “I completed the course and was presented with my certificate at half time during a Coventry City game at the Ricoh Arena. My young son came with me, he loved it.”
This was just the start of the support. Journey Guide Kate Henderson worked with Chelsea on updating her CV and making it more relevant to the roles she was applying for, whilst also completing a number of interview skills training sessions with her.
She attended a number of Accelerate Events and decided to gain volunteer experience at the Coventry Development Agency, which eventually led to a job offer.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call and was offered the part-time Administration role. They had been so impressed with my attitude and my determination to get back into work that they thought I’d be a valuable asset to the team. Hearing those words was amazing and a massive confidence lift,” continued Chelsea.
“I’m really enjoying my new role. I’m doing part time hours - spread over the week - so it fits in with looking after my little boy and picking him up from school.”
She concluded: “Accelerate has been great and now I’m glad I can give something back by helping people who have been in a similar position to myself.”
The £3m Accelerate project is part of ‘Building Better Opportunities’ programme, funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund.
It offers people from Coventry and Warwickshire individualised employment advice and support to break through some of the common barriers holding them back.
Each person is assigned a Journey Guide, who is responsible for working with them to design a tailor-made package of support that meets their individual requirements.
The ‘Journey Guide’ will connect them with the training and support they need, bringing in specialist partners along the way, and supporting them to access work experience and skills enhancement, including IT, Literacy, Numeracy and Enterprise training.
For more information about the European Social Fund for England, please visit the website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/england-2014-to-2020-european-structural-and...