A NEW £1.5m European Social Fund call has been issued for projects that are aimed at helping unemployed or inactive residents – including those aged 15-24 – in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) area who do not have any way of travelling to/from employment or training.
The Wheels to Work and Training programme is designed to help combat the barrier seen in parts of the SELEP area that inhibits residents’ abilities to take up employment or training opportunities due to a lack of direct public transport links. The funding has been issued in response to SELEP’s Skills Strategy, which highlighted the difficulties faced by some of the South East’s residents in travelling to work.
The South East LEP Skills Strategy 2018-2023 outlined the demand for skills in the SELEP area, with around 180,000 people in the patch having no qualifications, while close to 42,000 people are claiming out-of-work benefits. The nature of the SELEP area, which includes a high number of coastal and rural communities, means that access to training and employment remains limited for some people.
The Wheels to Work and Training programme is seeking support projects such as personalised travel planning and advice for individuals, as well as travel training; practical transport solutions such as bicycle or scooter hire or borrowing for up to six months; and support to purchase rail and bus tickets.
There is also a call for projects that support 15-24-year-olds in the SELEP area with additional barriers to the labour market such as ex-offenders, care leavers and those with special educational needs. The full application deadline for the Wheels to Work and Training programme is the 22nd April 2020.
SELEP Chair Christian Brodie said:
“There is a skills shortage in the South East, so this new call for projects that will help to get inactive or unemployed residents into work and training is a firm step in the right direction to tackle the issue and ensure that everyone is given the same opportunities when it comes to employment.
“The SELEP patch is unique in its composition, with a high number of coastal and rural communities, which creates its own set of problems when it comes to residents having the transport links they need to be able to work.
“In particular, the potential for additional support for young people will hopefully boost the number of people in this age bracket going into Further Education, taking on apprenticeships or finding skilled work.”
To find out more, go to southeastlep.com/opportunities/european-social-fund-esf