More than 150 people have signed up to a new programme to help get people furthest from the labour market into work – just four weeks after it officially launched.
The £3m Accelerate project unveiled the first big milestone had been achieved at a special event held in Coventry yesterday to give people more information on what support is available to them.
More than 200 individuals turned out at Central Hall to find out about the initiative, which has been designed to help nearly 900 of Coventry and Warwickshire’s most disadvantaged people to tackle barriers preventing them from getting a job or becoming self-employed.
They heard how 23 local employability partners have come together to provide each participant with a single access point to confidence building, work experience and skills enhancement, including training on IT, Literacy, Numeracy and Enterprise.
There was also the opportunity for them to walk round the large Information Fair and take part in bite size training sessions, such as recording a radio interview, first steps to starting a business and an interactive healthy eating workshop.
“The response we have had from people in Coventry and Warwickshire has been fantastic and we certainly didn’t expect to pass 150 participants in such a short space of time,” explained Tamy Matanky, who is leading the project on behalf of Coventry and Warwickshire CDA.
“We know there is a real need to reach out to individuals who are unemployed or economically inactive, including those with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, people who are over 50 years-old and Black and Minority (BME) communities.”
She continued: “Accelerate is different to other employment support initiatives that have been tried before and works because each participant receives individual employment advice and support to overcome the barriers holding them back.
“Individuals can contact any Accelerate partner to sign-up for our support, or be referred, and the first thing we do is introduce them to a Journey Guide who works with them to design a package of support that meets their requirements. It could be confidence building, mentoring or specialist advice provided by one or more of our 23 partners.”
Accelerate, which is part of ‘Building Better Opportunities’ – a programme jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund, held the launch event to bring all of its delivery partners together and then showcase the expertise and opportunities available to people in Coventry.
It received the public backing of Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Board Member Sarah Windrum and Sue Ormiston (Big Lottery Fund), whilst Sue Ogle (Voluntary Action Coventry) and Coventry Cyrenians’ Mike Flower provided their views on the difference it will make on the ground in the City and surrounding towns. [Speaker slides]
Local radio stations Radio Plus and Hillz FM were also broadcasting throughout the day and the Information Fair showcased the range of courses and one to one support on offer to job seekers who are struggling to find employment.
Tamy concluded: “150 is a big milestone for us to pass so early on in the project and we feel confident that we will be able to deliver the advice and guidance people need to overcome their barriers and find sustainable employment.”
The Accelerate partnership is led by Coventry and Warwickshire CDA and includes:
Action for Blind People, Coventry City Council – Employer Hub, Coventry Cyrenians, Foleshill Women’s Training Ltd, Grapevine Coventry & Warwickshire Ltd, Groundwork West Midlands, Heart of England Mencap, Hereward College, Life Path Trust, The Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, The New Bilton Community Association, Orbit Heart of England, Radio Plus, Sky Blues in the Community, The Highlife Centre, Voluntary Action Coventry, Valley House, Volunteer Centre Nuneaton & Bedworth, Volunteer Centre North Warwickshire, WATCH Ltd, Warwickshire Employment Support Team (WEST) – Warwickshire County Council and Workers’ Educational Association (WEA). Download Accelerate Partner Directory
Building Better Opportunities
The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.
It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650m and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004, it has awarded over £8bn to projects that change the lives of millions of people.
The Accelerate project has received £3m of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural Investment Fund Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.
Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information, visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding