Organisations are being invited to bid for more than £4 million of funding to help thousands of disadvantaged people and long-term jobseekers get into work.
The money is being made available to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to give people tailored job advice and specialist support in the heart of their own communities.
The Employment Support Pilot schemes will also help equip low paid workers with the skills needed to land better jobs.
The schemes will run in nine communities across the wider West Midlands where unemployment is high and levels of pay are low – often reflecting low skill levels amongst residents.
The programme will help up to 4,500 people find work, with an emphasis on helping people in to better paid jobs. There will be a particular focus on young people, disabled people and other vulnerable groups.
The schemes are part of the wider transfer of powers and funding from Whitehall to the West Midlands following the region’s decision to form a combined authority, led by an elected mayor.
The WMCA, which will be developing the schemes, is now inviting organisations to bid for a slice of the funding to help deliver more jobs support at a local level.
Dr Julie Nugent, the WMCA’s director of skills and productivity, said: “We are determined to use our new powers to make a real difference to people’s lives, addressing the things that matter to them like good homes, jobs and opportunities for the future.
“These Employment Support schemes are part of our investment into community-led projects that help more local people get into work and, for those already in employment, to upskill so they can earn more.
“We are keen to hear from organisations, especially those based locally, who want to work with us in connecting more people to the wide range of job opportunities available across the region.”
The nine schemes, which will boost the support already available through Jobcentre Plus and local authorities, will be set up later this year and run for three years in:
• Birchills Leamore, Walsall
• Binley and Willenhall, Coventry
• Glascote, Tamworth
• Shard End, Birmingham
• Washwood Heath, Birmingham
• Chelmsley Wood, Solihull
• Batchley and Brockhill, Redditch
• Camp Hill, Nuneaton and Bedworth
• Cannock North
The location-based support is aimed at making 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 available.
Evidence suggests that neighbours, extended family members and others in the local community can be an effective channel for getting information to the right people.
They are also effective in helping to strengthen and nurture confidence that there are jobs available, particularly to those whose families may have limited experience of paid employment.
A week-long series of roadshows has started to provide organisations with more information about the schemes and how to bid.
• Shard End/Washwood Heath (Birmingham) - Tuesday 24 April; 10am – 12pm, 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham, West Midlands, B19 3SD. Attendance confirmations should be sent to John.English@wmca.org.uk
• Chelmsley Wood (Solihull) - Wednesday 25 April; 10.15am – 12.15pm - Chamber, Civic Suite, Rear of Council House, Manor Square, Solihull, B91 3QB. Attendance confirmations should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Batchley and Brockhill (Redditch) - Thursday 26, 1pm – 3pm, Redditch Town Hall, Walter Stranz Square, Redditch B98 8AH. Attendance confirmations should be sent to John.English@wmca.org.uk
• Camp Hill (Nuneaton and Bedworth) - Friday 27 April – 10am – 12pm, Council Chamber, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Town Hall, Coton Road, Nuneaton, CV11 5AA. Attendance confirmations should be sent to: email@example.com
• Cannock North - Friday 27 April 2pm – 4pm, Civic Centre, Beecroft Road, Cannock, Staffordshire, WS11 1BG. Attendance confirmations should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organisations can also get information about the opportunities on offer by registering at https://wmca.bravosolution.co.uk/web/login.html
Further information is also available by registering at https://wmca.bravosolution.co.uk/web/login.html and at https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/25e30be3-debf-4224-bc3e-ab840b673f72