£6.7m fund to boost Lancashire's workforce

The Lancashire Employment and Skills Executive Partnership (LESEP) has secured £6.7m to support unemployed people over the age of 19 into work and to enhance Apprenticeship provision across the county.

The ‘Access to Employment’ (A2E) project will run from November 2016 to March 2018 and aims to help 4,127 people via bespoke support and training packages.

Split into two themes, the objective of the first ‘Support for the Unemployed’ is to help unemployed and inactive people to enter and sustain employment. Support available will include coaching, mentoring, advice on job searching, CV tips and interview techniques, literacy and ICT training, ESOL provision and programmes for learners with special educational needs.

In addition, the project will help those with personal or social barriers to employment, for example, the purchase of tools or equipment or to fund travel or childcare costs.

Theme two, ‘Enhancing Apprenticeships’, aims to increase take up and employer support of Apprenticeships and Traineeships. Perfect for Lancashire-based businesses with ambitions to grow their workforce, or companies opening new premises within the county, the initiative will upskill individuals in-line with the needs of employers.

The bid was submitted by Preston’s College on behalf of the LESEP to the European Social Fund (ESF), backed by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). The College will also be the lead accountable body for the project.

Welcoming the funding, David Wood, chair of The Lancashire Colleges, said: “This is the single largest sum of European money that has ever been won by any consortium within Lancashire to jointly support the development of skills for the county’s workforce and assist those who need a helping hand to get back into employment.

“It is a significant achievement and will enable so many people to improve their employability and job prospects.”

Lisa Bloomfield, chair of the Lancashire Work Based Learning Executive Forum, endorsed this, adding: “We’re delighted to have secured this funding which will help thousands of people across the county, as well as enabling businesses to flourish and grow by subsequently enhancing their capabilities.”

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