We have £20 million of European Social Fund to deliver projects that will improve skills and employability on our patch (East Sussex, Essex and Kent, the SELEP area).
To enable us to get the very best out of this great opportunity we are consulting with a range of partners at a workshop event in Westminster on Tuesday 12th September.
We will consult with employers and businesses, training providers, colleges, charities, the Big Lottery and the DWP to gather ideas and inputs to enable us to design the best value for skills and employment growth going forward.
“We are very focussed on improving employment opportunity and feel it is key to consult with people who know the challenges and opportunities and can help us unlock potential. To get them together and involved to develop the best, the clearest and the most effective set of activities to deliver growth in skills and employment”
Lorraine George, EU Funding Strategic Lead, SELEP
Because in order to meet its growth potential and ensure that people will benefit from future opportunities on our doorstep, we need to address the skills gap in the SELEP area.
Overall qualification levels in the SELEP area; East Sussex, Essex and Kent, are failing to keep up with the national average and are well below those of neighbouring and similar LEP areas.
Whilst we are seeing both a large number of vacancies and high projected growth predictions for the area apprenticeship starts have remained static over the past few years remaining at around 32,000 in the context of nearly half a million 15-34 year olds.
SELEP has low productivity compared to other LEP areas and our population is set to grow from 4.1 million to nearly 5 million by 2039.
The outcome of consulting with experienced partners and organisations will enable us to prioritise and fund a set of focussed projects designed to deliver employability growth in particular demographics.
We will then confirm any new calls for tender on our website, via partner networks and published on the DWP’s website.