First Three Covergence Programme Contracts Announced

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Three contracts to deliver investment worth £15 million aimed at encouraging people into work are the first to be announced under the European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that the Cornwall Works Plus contract has been awarded to Working Links (Employment) Ltd and Cornwall Works for Social Enterprise and Cornwall Works for Learning Disabilities have been awarded to Cornwall County Council. The investment for all three will be delivered via Jobcentre Plus.

Carolyn Webster, European Programmes Manager for Jobcentre Plus, said:

“This investment gives us the opportunity to build on the groundbreaking work that was delivered through Jobcentre Plus and our partners using Objective One investment and enabled over 5,000 people to gain qualifications and jobs. In Convergence we have raised the bar again, and will ensure that everyone who goes into work will have ongoing training and development; that programmes and providers work together to provide continuity of support to individuals and their families and that the support available is of the highest quality.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Partnership Office said:

“This investment of Convergence European Social Fund in skills and training will help empower people, improving their life chances and helping them to take their place in the workforce. Key to this will be the working with partners across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to ensure that quality support is provided to meet the individual needs of the people involved.”

Andrew Mitchell, Cornwall County Council economic portfolio holder, said:

“I am delighted that Cornwall County Council will be delivering these important contracts across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for the Department of Work and Pensions/Jobcentre Plus using Convergence European Social Fund investment. The County Council has identified supporting people into work as one of its priorities for direct involvement in the Convergence Programmes.”

And Frances Brennan, Director for South West Working Links, added:

“Working Links is thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver Cornwall Works Plus across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We will be working with high quality delivery partners in key local communities and look forward to delivering a successful programme which builds on the successes of Objective One for both residents and the local economy.”

The three contracts are due to start on June 23rd.

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Editors Notes:

Cornwall Works Plus.

Programme aim – overcoming barriers to employment. It aims to improve the employability and skills of unemployed and inactive people and to tackle barriers to work faced by people with disabilities or health conditions; lone parents; people aged 50 and over; ethnic minorities and people with no or low qualifications. Additional resources will be invested in areas where there are high concentrations of worklessness to build and develop neighbourhood Action Teams. Cornwall Works Plus will provide an individual pathway to employment for each participant rather than adopt a one-size-fits-all approach.

Cornwall Works for Social Enterprise.

Programme aim – To provide inspirational and high quality developmental experiences and sustainable work for jobless people through social enterprises. This includes support for current social enterprises to consolidate and expand their capacity to support more jobless individuals; support for the development of new social enterprises where they can provide sustainable employment for jobless people; provision that adds value to the European Regional Development Fund investment in social enterprises through the Convergence programme http://www.objectiveone.com where this leads to employment opportunities for jobless people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; and support to overcome individuals barriers to progression and to help participants remain on the programme, including ongoing mentoring. The project will also offer a flexible “enabling fund” to overcome specific barriers to participants entering employment. This could include the need for work clothes and equipment, help with transport costs, childcare, transitional allowances to cover any gap between benefits and the first wage, and to buy in one-off provision that cannot be sourced from elsewhere.

Cornwall Works for Learning Disabilities.

Programme aim – providing a pathway to sustainable employment for people with learning disabilities. This includes giving information, advice, guidance and assessment for people with learning disabilities to identify and agree a pathway to employment based on the skills, talents and aspirations of each participant; continuous support, assessment and mentoring and provision of activity to enhance skills and employability where this is not available or appropriate from mainstream provision, including for example – motivation and confidence building, relevant vocational training, business start-up support and job search skills and activity. The project will also offer a flexible “enabling fund” to overcome specific barriers to participants entering employment. This could include the need for work clothes and equipment, help with transport costs, childcare, transitional allowances to cover any gap between benefits and the first wage, and to buy in one-off provision that cannot be sourced from elsewhere.

For further information: http://www.objectiveone.com/O1htm/01-convergence/convergence.htm

Convergence helpline telephone: 0800 0280120.

  • In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the Convergence programmes are made up of European Regional Development Fund (£311 million) and European Social Fund (£133 million) Convergence Programmes will run until 2013 and follow the successful Objective One Programme and prior to that Objective 5b.
  • The investment is intended to boost the region’s economy by providing focussed support for business creating better quality, higher paid jobs. This support includes training and access to higher education, strengthening links between academia and business, improved airport and IT infrastructure, additional high quality workspace and specialist support to boost business productivity.
  • The European Social Fund Convergence Programme Managing Authority is the Department for Work and Pensions, supported by Government Office South West.
  • The ESF Operational Programme will be targeted at tackling barriers to work, improving workforce skills and research and graduate activity. It will be delivered primarily through co financing via the Learning and Skills Council and Jobcentre Plus.
  • Unlike Objective One the agricultural and fisheries funds will come from national programmes.

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