Communities across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are benefiting from a range of programmes to support people to gain the skills they need for future employment through the European Social Fund (ESF).
The aim of the programmes is to unlock the potential of the current and future local workforce through a demand-driven approach to providing skills and matching those skills to employment opportunities.
SSLEP and its partners are committed to delivering ESF programmes that will ensure all residents, regardless of their personal circumstances, are included and can start on a journey to sustainable employment.
They have already supported thousands of residents who are furthest from the job market with multiple barriers to those who are currently in employment but may need to develop higher level skills to progress further within their employment. To date the programmes have supported 22,482 learners with over 9000 progressing to positive destinations.
One is the Building Better Opportunities Programme delivered by Ixion Holding Ltd in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle under Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands. The programme provides support for participants with multiple barriers to regain their confidence, become more socially included and move closer to or into the job market. The programme has supported just over 1500 participants to date with just over 400 progressing onto a positive outcome.
It has delivered a project called Secret Garden on a plot of land loaned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Participants have been improving and maintaining the garden and organising community days. They have benefited from being able to work in an outside environment completing activities they haven’t had the chance to do for a long time.
One participant said:
It was a little bit of a daunting task as I have never done anything like this before but with guidance, we soon settled into a good way of working.
We came together and mixed our trades to try and progress with the garden to reach the stage we are at now and to maintain this. I really love it because it helps to relax me, and it helps with preparing me for returning to work.”
Find out more about the project here
Skills Support for the Workforce/Skills Support for Redundancy is delivered by Serco across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. The programme develops and upskills employees within SMEs providing recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses to enhance employees’ skills, increase the competitiveness of the business and boost the local economy. The programme has supported just over 1500 participants to date with just over 400 progressing onto a positive outcome.
One of those, Glynis, was made redundant after 17 years with the same employer. She had recently completed some qualifications and was interested in teaching as she is a local sports coach. After completing the programme she went on to gain an educational qualification.
Glynis is now in full-time employment as a cover supervisor at a local school.
I wanted to learn how to plan a lesson and adapt it to suit individual learning styles. I also wanted ensure I could bring functional skills into my lesson plans to enable me to have a successful teaching career.”
Positive Directions is delivered by Skills Training UK across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. It’s a programme for young people who are NEET or at risk of becoming NEET. The programme develops their capability to progress either back into learning and remain in either education, apprenticeship, traineeship or employment. The programme has supported just over 1600 participants to date with just over 600 progressing onto a positive outcome.
One participant Alex had suffered from mental health issues and needed confidence to mix with people, build confidence and then gain qualifications to gain employment. Since gaining the scheme qualification he has taken on voluntary work and is looking to find a job with the NHS.
Find out more about Alex’s story here.
Visit the main ESIF programme page for more information.