Spring 2019 European Social Fund (ESF) Newsletter

Thursday 25th of April 2019 02:00 PM

Welcome to the Spring 2019 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.

Building Better Opportunities Extensions

We are delighted to advise that our three Building Better Opportunities have all been extended and will be able to continue supporting people until 2022.

For more information about Coventry & Warwickshire’s BBO projects please follow the links:

Accelerate - https://www.accelerate.org.uk/

Breakthrough - https://www.bbobreakthrough.org.uk/about_the_breakthrough_programme

Progress - https://www.groundwork.org.uk/Pages/Category/building-better-opportuniti...

New Funding Opportunities

The latest funding news is that DWP has just launched a call for Active Inclusion projects to increase participation in the labour market and therefore improving social inclusion and mobility for residents of Coventry & Warwickshire.

You can find the call document here: https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/active-inclusion...

Coming soon is a call for projects to support young people into employment or training.  Watch this space for more information.

You can search here for live open calls: https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds

Call for projects under Access to employment 1.1 and Skills for Growth 2.1 have now closed and are currently going through the appraisal process with DWP.

If you have any queries about the Active Inclusion call 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.

Opportunity To Bid For Small Grants​

ESF Community Grants is a new programme open to small and voluntary organisations to fund projects that help unemployed and economically inactive people move into or towards employment, training or education.



  • A total grant fund of £1.6m is available for Coventry & Warwickshire.
  • Individual grants of £5,000 to £20,000 are available.
  • Grants are available for activities delivered in Coventry & Warwickshire.
  • All project participants must be unemployed or economically inactive and each project will need to achieve progressions into employment and/ or education.
  • The fund aims to support in particular (although not exclusively) participants:
    • who are over 50
    • with disabilities
    • from ethnic minorities
    • who are women
    • Grantees will have up to 6 months from the award of the grant to deliver their project.

Who can apply?

Applicant organisations must be Third Sector organisations, OR small organisations - fewer than 49 full-time equivalent staff, and a turnover or balance sheet equal to or under 10 million Euros (currently approximately £8.6m).

Find out more:
Interested organisations can sign up to our mailing list to receive more information (including further details when the fund goes live) here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ECGNewsletter

ESF In Action - Case Studies

Shannon’s Journey

Shannon took part in 'Progress', a tailored programme of coaching and support to help NEET young people across Coventry and Warwickshire access training and employment opportunities. The programme is part of Building Better Opportunities and funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund. To find out more or to make a referral, please visit:www.groundwork.org.uk/progress

Shannon, 21, joined Progress to help her gain qualifications, build confidence and help her to secure a full-time job.

"I joined Progress in 2017 through Positive Youth Foundation. I live with learning difficulties – including autism, ADHD and dyspraxia – and I was told that Progress could help me to both gain new skills and improve my confidence.
"During my time on the programme, I have taken part in various group sessions, and was involved in the BBC Biggest Weekend at Fargo Village, which was a brilliant experience. I was introduced to Hillz FM and got involved with their Music Leads to Work project.

"My biggest personal barrier is that I struggle with my confidence and low self-esteem – before I joined Progress, I didn’t like myself. I still find it difficult, but I’m learning to like myself a bit more and know that I have grown in confidence. It’s helped being round other young people who I can chat to, so I’m getting more comfortable with interacting with people.
"I’m currently volunteering in Central Library: it’s my second volunteer role that Voluntary Action Coventry supported me to find and apply for.
"I’m confident that Progress will help me to find a job – I believe in myself a lot more than I did before."

Abu Sufian Miah, Progress Coach, said: “Shannon is a prime example of how a young person with complex learning needs can still thrive by focusing on her strengths and working on those skills which she feels she can improve on. The support she received by VAC in identifying and applying for volunteering roles has given her that opportunity to put into the practice some of these skills that she has developed at Positive Youth Foundation.”

Exceed – Good News Story (WATCH Ltd)

Exceed Programme in Coventry provides effective engagement with disengaged groups, bespoke provision tailored to meet individuals’ needs, strong employer relationships and proven interventions to support those furthest from the labour market.

SM registered on the Exceed in Coventry programme in March 2018. Her original, immediate need was to receive support in re-formatting and improving her CV. The CV that she was using to look for employment was not tailored effectively to attract positions in a childcare environment which was her preferred sector of work.

SM’s domestic circumstances meant that she could only commit to part-time work. She was the sole carer for both her husband, who had chronic back problems that affected his mobility and her young daughter who was experiencing a serious intolerance and allergy to dairy products.

SM saw roles working term-time in a school environment as the ideal job as it would enable her to continue her caring responsibilities. SM felt that as she had no paid work experience in a school environment, she would not be considered for roles caring for schoolchildren.

Her Barrier-Breaking Employment Advisor (BBEA), reassured her that the voluntary work she had undertaken in a local nursery, combined with her natural parenting skills, would be more than sufficient to warrant a realistic approach to potential ‘Lunchtime Supervisor’ positions.

SM and her BBEA collaborated on updating the CV and ensured that the document clearly highlighted her volunteering in a nursery and listed her qualities as a domestic carer so it honed in on possible jobs in childcare.

SM and her BBEA located a ‘Lunchtime Supervisor’ role with Sidney Stringer Primary Academy. SM’s BBEA provided significant support with completing all sections of the form including the ‘Personal Statement’ which was the key part of the application where competency and evidence of skills and experience would be assessed against the job description and personal specification.

Just over 2 weeks’ later, SM received contact from the Academy asking her to attend an interview. SM’s BBEA met with her and provided comprehensive advice on how to get ready for the interview including anticipating questions with responses and examples, preparing own questions and the importance of body language.

Within 1 week, SM was given the good news that she was to be offered the role of ‘Lunchtime Supervisor’ with the Academy with a start date at the beginning of the next school term.

“Thank you to my advisor. This project is very useful for the person like me and don’t know what to do or how to apply for any job. When I came here, I got quick help and I got the job in less than 1 week!”

Skills For Growth​

Coventry & Warwickshire Skills 4 Growth (CWS4G) delivers skills support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) located in the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership postcodes. The range of training available is extensive and supports individuals to gain accredited full qualifications at level 2 and below and units of qualifications at level 3 and above.
Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Training are working in partnership with an Atherstone-based, family run company that manufactures tow bars and towing accessories. The company expanded to its full capacity and is now looking at its future growth by investing in larger premises and upskilling the existing workforce to support its expansion plans.

Tow-Trust Towbars Ltd is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of tow bars and towing accessories. For over 20 years the company has forged a strong reputation amongst the trade for supplying the highest quality towing products. From commercial and non-commercial tow bars to an expanding range of trade accessories, the company is confident that they have the right towing solution for all individuals, with a skilled, growing workforce.

Elaine Miller, a director at Tow-Trust Towbars Ltd says: “We turned to Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Training for advice on how we could increase the skills of our existing supervisors in order to encourage more effective planning and ways of introducing small changes that will have a big impact on our company’s progression. Working in partnership with Chamber Training, we decided to offer our supervisors the opportunity to study an ILM Award in Leadership and Team Skills, which is specifically designed for team leaders and supervisors to develop management kills, enhance team performance and explore leadership styles.

Our six supervisors really valued the course and the way in which it was delivered by the trainer from Chamber Training. Being aware of how all of the functions work alongside each other and how production can be affected by a decision made in isolation has had a great impact on the team. They are now more open to change and far more open at the way in which they look at problems and how to solve them. We have found that by attending the course, they have enjoyed the opportunity to study, learn and work and this has proven to be a popular strategy across the firm.”

Natalie Lane, Account Manager at Chamber Training commented: “ILM qualifications offer a flexible option for management development from level 2 to level 5. They are proving to be a popular choice for organisations looking for real business results to improve productivity and profitability.”

For more information about the European Social Fund and the Operational Programme for England please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/england-2014-to-2020-european-structural-and...

The ESF Technical Assistance Team would welcome feedback on this newsletter.

To provide feedback, or to find out more about ESF in Coventry & Warwickshire or how the team could help you develop your project ideas, please contact:

Marzena Kubiak, email: marzena.kubiak@coventry.gov.uk

Helen Hunt, email: helenhunt@warwickshire.gov.uk