Skills training support grant approved

Aberdeen City Council is poised to set up a skills training pipeline after formally accepting an £856,166 grant from the European Social Fund (ESF) at committee today. (Thurs 25 Aug)

The committee also agreed to a contingency fund of £200,000 which will be made available from the City Centre Masterplan budget, allowing the Council to underwrite a portion of the management and delivery costs if match funding cannot be secured.

The project proposal submitted to ESF came to a total projected cost of £2.198million.

The strategic skills pipeline will be used to improve and increase the level of employability support available in the city, with a specific focus on the five regeneration priorities - Middlefield, Torry, Woodside, Seaton and Tillydrone.

The project will actively engage with those individuals who are furthest removed from the labour market with significant barriers to engagement and progression, including disability and long-term health problems. An estimated 4,000 people could benefit from skills, employability and personal development training.

Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “The City Centre Masterplan’s 49 projects could deliver thousands of new jobs for local people over the next 25 years.

“We need to ensure residents are well placed to take advantage of the employment opportunities – opportunities that are beginning to materialise now as implementation gets under way.

“In particular we want to help those who may struggle to find work because they lack the necessary skills or people who have not been able to access training and support on account of challenging personal circumstances.

“Just as everyone has a right to an attractive, vibrant and dynamic city centre, everyone has right to enjoy the social, cultural and economic benefits – including a job. The Aberdeen Works project will help broaden Aberdeen’s skills base and further the Council’s inclusion agenda.”

The Communities, Housing and Infrastructure committee today agreed to accept the ESF grant of £856,166 over the financial years 2016 to 2019 – £106,135 to cover 40% of the management and delivery costs; and £750,031, which represents 40% of the operational costs.

Funding will enable delivery of an enhanced employability pipeline service in Aberdeen (Aberdeen Pipeline to Progress through Positive Partnerships), and will form part of the delivery activities within ‘Aberdeen Works’ as per the City Centre Masterplan.

The Council’s Economic Development Service will ‘ring-fence’ 1.4 full-time equivalent posts to help with delivery.

The rest of the £2.198million could come from partner organisations providing £1.4m worth of support.

A report for committee said the skills pipeline initiative would be in line with the Regional Economic Strategy, which promotes inclusive economic growth priorities to lower barriers to access of employability and jobs.