The Jobcentre Plus European Social Fund (ESF) team for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly hosted a week long study visit by a group of ESF project managers from Prague City Council in August.
The ten visitors learned about the good practice developed by Jobcentre Plus in the delivery of their Objective One ESF programmes and about how the three new Jobcentre Plus ESF Convergence programmes were developed, commissioned and implemented.
The group heard presentations from the Jobcentre Plus ESF team, DWP procurement team, the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Government office South West. They also experienced ESF delivery through visits to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Redruth, the Eden Project, Working Links and the Plymouth based Dragon Enterprise, part of the Pluss Organisation.
Lucie Pastuchova who organised the visit on behalf of Prague City Council said: “The possibility to compare the British system with ours gave us the opportunity to think about and eventually improve our work. We attended so many interesting presentations from various authorities that deal with ESF in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. These let us see the whole picture. We were surprised by the high level of the partnerships between everyone involved. This, along with highly effective distribution and quality of the provision, were truly inspiring aspects of our visit. All the projects we visited were a piece of evidence showing that your system works. We would like to thank you for the warm welcome we received and we really appreciate highly professional level of organisation of the whole stay.”
Carolyn Webster, European Programmes Manager for Jobcentre Plus, said: “We really enjoyed hosting the visit from colleagues in Prague. It is very positive to know that our good practice is being shared across the EU. The visit also helped my team to reflect on their part in delivering ESF. Our delivery partners did us proud and brought home to our visitors and to us the difference that ESF is making to the lives of workless people in Cornwall and Scilly.”
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office, added: “These visits are useful for both hosts and delegates. They encouraging the sharing knowledge and best practice to increase the impact of European structural funding on the economy and highlight the benefits for those who are out of work.”