Plans to extend employability support programme

An employability support programme that has guided hundreds of people from Aberdeen on the journey to a job could be extended for another four years.

Progress through Positive Partnerships, which is led by Aberdeen City Council’s City Growth team and delivered in conjunction with third, public and private sector partners, was formally launched in August 2017 after securing £880,000 (40% of the project value) from the European Social Fund (ESF).

The programme offers vocational training in disciplines including engineering, computing and care, as well as help with literacy, numeracy, language and interview skills, and the provision of work experience placements. It has a primary focus on the regeneration areas of Middlefield, Torry, Woodside, Seaton and Tillydrone, and provides a broad range of support to city residents facing multiple barriers to employment.

A report for the City Growth and Resources Committee estimated that the project extension, if approved by the Scottish Government, would engage with 5,790 people over the next four years.

It would seek to help a minimum of 1,870 people into work, with a minimum of 1,300 participants achieving a recognised qualification.

The project would also offer aftercare to participants entering employment and work with employers to support at least 750 people to gain in-work qualifications and a similar number to make a positive progression within their employment.

City Growth and Resources Committee convener Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “The Progress through Positive Partnerships has already proven its worth by helping residents, including some of our most disadvantaged, access training, personal development coaching and ultimately, jobs.

“The project has established a strategic employability pipeline, improving the co-ordination of service provision across communities.

“It delivers against the Council’s Inclusive Growth ambitions, meets employers’ needs, and offers a strong foundation for work on Regional Economic Strategy priorities such as community benefits and Developing the Young Workforce.

“Extending the programme will yield further wins for citizens and the city as a whole.”

The Aberdeen City Council area has an indicative ESF allocation of £771,546 for 2019-2022.

The scheme requires 60% match funding from the Council and partners, which would bring the total project investment from 2017-2022 to more than £4 million. The Council’s total contribution would be just under £513,000, a combination of staff time and a £150,000 allocation from the City Centre Masterplan.

To date 564 people have been referred to the project, including 284 via the neighbourhood skills audits. Of those, 235 confirmed an interest in the project and 197 were actively engaged.

158 action plans have been submitted for approval, detailing training and support provision for clients; 91 places on training courses had been allocated; 22 clients had undertaken a variety work experience placements; 12 have achieved qualifications; 56 had secured employment (50 full-time and six part-time, 21 of whom continue to receive keyworker support); and two had started courses at North East College Scotland.

Additionally, the project has delivered two jobs fairs, attracting over 2,100 people in total.

Project partners include Pathways Services, an Aberdeen-based third sector organisation that provides the initial engagement and key worker support, Job Centre Plus and Skills Development Scotland. Other partners include SHMU, Aberdeen Foyer, Tullos Training, Gabi Reith Artworks, CFINE, EC-PC, Realise, and a number of council services.

The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit Scottish Government Website or follow @scotgovESIF.