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£9.1m boost for schemes to improve skills and grow jobs in Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 04, 2012

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Two schemes aimed at improving the skills of the Cornish workforce have been awarded a total of £9.1 million to reduce unemployment and to help firms develop staff.

The Skills Support for Redundancy will be given £6.5 million, with Skills Support for the Unemployed receiving £2.6 million to help residents of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Both schemes are funded by Convergence's European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Agency and will run until July 31, 2015.

Skills Support for Redundancy aims to help 2,000 people who may be at risk of losing their jobs, under formal notice of redundancy or newly unemployed. The idea is that they are given the opportunity to gain new or improved skills so they can boost their chances of finding more work.

Skills Support for the Unemployed is aimed at people aged 19 and over who are on benefits – with particular focus on 19 to 24-year-olds.

This programme could also benefit small businesses, who can apply for a grant of up to £1,500 to take on an apprentice, with firms also asked to make a contribution.

The scheme aims to see more than 2,000 people gain new skills and qualifications relevant to the current labour market with at least 700 getting a job as a result.

Both projects are being led by the Learning Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Ltd and will be delivered by organisations including the TUC, Cornwall College, Petroc, City College Plymouth and Truro and Penwith College.

Priscilla Samuel, senior contract manager at the Learning Partnership, said: "The whole focus is on giving people the skills to help them get jobs. It's very focused on what they need.

She added: "It's really important that we link to the Job Centres and what jobs are available so that it's not just training for something that doesn't exist or that's in decline."

Andrew Green, CEO of the Learning Partnership, said: "The flexible nature of both projects has enabled us to ensure that learning and skills provision is accessible for all eligible learners in Cornwall, both in and outside of the workplace, within our colleges, and in other outreach locations.

"In addition to helping learners to overcome skills barriers and obtain sustainable employment, the projects will benefit the Cornish economy and local small businesses by offering apprenticeship grants."

Mark Yeoman, head of ESF Convergence communication, said: "This new provision will both boost the employment opportunities of the people on the programmes and help build a stronger workforce that will help drive the economic success of our businesses."

Last month it was announced that a £7.8 million workplace learning project was to be funded by the European Convergence programme to help 6,000 people to get better qualifications.

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