ESF projects

The ‘Escalator of Opportunity’ describes SELEP’s European Social Fund investment in skills and social inclusion projects. A participant can move along the escalator all the way from long term unemployment to in work training into higher level skills.

‘Social Inclusion’ projects

Youth Employment Initiative, OnTrack Thurrock

OnTrack Thurrock, run by Thurrock Council and partners, is all about helping young people in Thurrock to get a good start in life. Through individually tailored programmes of support young people aged from 16- 29 can have access to mentoring and guidance, training courses and careers advice to get them on the right track, not only to fulfill their potential but also to help bring greater prosperity to the area.

Find out more here.

OnTrack Thurrock is part of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) which was created in February 2013 by the European Council. This is an initiative which aims to reinforce resources to tackle youth unemployment in areas of the European Union with the highest rates. Thurrock had youth unemployment rates above 25% in 2012 and is one of the eleven areas in England eligible for this funding.


European Social Fund and Big Lottery working together in the SELEP area

When producing the ESIF strategy document, SELEP worked with voluntary sector representatives and the Big Lottery to identify key areas of need for social inclusion project support in our area. The Big Lottery has match funded some of our ESF projects that focus on social inclusion. In these projects various different groups of people who are furthest from the labour market are being helped towards employment and into employment by the support work undertaken.

The following projects are delivering in different geographies across SELEP, with some in specific locations.

Click here further information and to see maps of where the projects are happening on the ground go here.


The Essex Rural Skills Project (ERSP)

This project helps economically inactive, isolated people who are over 45 and who live in rural areas and market towns, delivering skills and training. It is a wrap-around programme of support which is tailored to individual needs and can include CV writing, interview skills, group life skills training and therapy sessions depending on the person. The ERSP runs a range of courses including vocational training in carpentry, construction, woodland management, horticulture and food & nutrition but it offers participants so much more than that.

Priority is given to those individuals who have additional health issues which make it impossible for them to even begin to start thinking about looking for employment. This can include people with mental health issues and those who have been unemployed for many years.


Gingerbread ‘Working Forward’

Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families are providing support across SELEP’s area through their programme ‘Working Forward’. Parents not in work receive support through an individual mentor who will help them to overcome their barriers to engagement through information, advice and guidance.

Support is tailored to individual need but can include employability training, help with training work placements or sector vocational training.


4SX ‘The Way to Work’

4SX, a consortium of voluntary sector partners are supporting carers in Essex, Southend and Thurrock through their programme ‘The Way to Work’.

Carers will work with a key worker who will be able to access the range of specialist support of the consortium to remove barriers that carers face and help them to become employment ready.


Ixion Holdings ‘Connecting Choices’

Ixion Holdings are supporting those who are furthest from the labour market towards, or into volunteering, training or employment.

Those supported include people with mental health barriers, those with housing challenges and ex- offenders. Help includes employability-focused, health, housing, personal development and rehabilitative support.


Enable East ‘Heads Up’

The Enable East ‘Heads Up’ project supports people with mental health problems to return to employment and / or training, working with a range of partners.

‘Heads up’ supports individuals on a journey to identify their strengths, build their confidence and well-being, set personal goals, prepare for the job market and take the first steps into moving back into employment and / or training.

The programme includes 1:1 support, high quality motivational training, vocational training, work placements and active work.


Papworth Trust ‘Community Connections’

Papworth Trust project supports people with long-term health issues and disabilities. Individuals are supported towards employment, training, job search or sustainable employment. The approach is focused around the individual’s needs, working at a pace that works for them and focusing on their aspirations and finding training and employment that is meaningful for them.


Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) ‘Better Opportunities: Brighter Futures

RBLI are assisting individuals who have difficulties sustaining support with specialist, in depth assessments, career advice and guidance to overcome barriers which may impact on sustainability of employment, such as mental health conditions.

This includes in work support to maximise the potential of employment being sustained and working with employers to help them enhance support mechanisms.


Porchlight ‘Aspirations’

Porchlight are supporting individuals who have mental health issues which have been a barrier to work. Support includes a personalised plan including areas such as resilience and self-confidence.

The programme focuses on rural and coastal areas in rural and coastal areas in Kent, Medway and East Sussex.


Social Enterprise Kent ‘Lots More to Offer’

Social Enterprise Kent in ‘Lots More to Offer’ is supporting older people into employment. Support includes an employer toolkit, focusing on opportunities for those that are aged 45+. Support includes one to one advice and support from an Employment Support Advisor, access to training, job search and interview preparation skills.


Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA) ‘Let’s Get Working’

In this project, SCDA are supporting people with long-term health issues and / or a disability to become more socially and / or economically active. GPs and other health professionals will be able to “socially prescribe” their patients to the project for complimentary, person centred, non-medical support aimed at addressing wellbeing, community engagement, social inclusion and employment needs.


’Near The Labour Market’ projects

Work Routes

SELEP has made some of its ESF allocation available, matched by the Department for Work and Pensions for Unemployed People who are nearer to the labour market and need less intense support. This contract was awarded to Reed in Partnership to run a project called ‘Work Routes’

Reed in Partnership is working with RBLI and APM to deliver a programme called ‘Work Routes’ across SELEP’s area.

This helps long-term unemployed people aged 16 and above to start and sustain work by overcoming barriers with a range of personal, one to one support for up to a year.

Support is available to address issues such as health conditions, housing, money management, life skills, interview skills, CV writing and volunteering. Participants also receive support once they are in work for 26 weeks with career development and progression.

Find out more here