Convergence Support for People Out of Work is Highlighted.

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Jenny Millagan, Sarah Jeffrey, Carolyn Webster, Sue Dann and Kirsten Smith.
Left to Right: Jenny Millagan, Sarah Jeffrey, Carolyn Webster, Sue Dann and Kirsten Smith.

A series of ESF Convergence launch events have been organised by Jobcentre Plus to explain what support is available for people out of work in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

The four events followed the announcement of ESF (European Social Fund) Convergence investment for three major Jobcentre Plus contracts worth £16 million for the period June 2008 – June 2011. The contracts will be run by Cornwall County Council and Working Links. Sub contracted providers include Fifteen Cornwall, Pentreath, Cornwall Centre for Volunteers, Citizens Advice Bureau, Eden, Rezolve Kernow, CPR Regeneration and many other Cornish organisations

Carolyn Webster, Jobcentre Plus European Programmes Manager, explained: “These events were designed to show our own staff and advisers from other organisations what European Social Fund provision we have, and how it can support their customers.”

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, added: “These events are essential to share what additional support will be available to those not in work. This support will include a variety of activities and training funded by the new ESF Convergence Programme. These projects will complement mainstream Jobcentre Plus programmes and further boost the economy by encouraging and helping more people into work.”

The events, which took place at Kingsley Village, Fraddon, attracted over 350 people who were shown presentations and given the time to talk to 13 sub contractors and prime providers.

Judith Ely, an adviser at Newquay Jobcentre said: “The day has been inspiring and motivating. It was a great opportunity to network and gather information regarding ESF support and give advisers the knowledge and confidence to empower individuals to move forward”

For more information go to http://www.objectiveone.com/O1htm/01-convergence/convergence.htm

Notes to Editors:

The three contracts announced in June by the DWP are:

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.

• 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.

• 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.

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