Oxford City Council has been awarded a contract by the Big Lottery Fund to manage a programme of employment support and training for unemployed young people in Oxfordshire.
“Unlocking Potential for Oxfordshire” is a new project that will receive up to £734,000 over the next three years as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme, jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020. The programme, delivered in 38 Local Enterprise Partnership areas, including the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership will invest in projects that tackle poverty, promote social inclusion, and drive jobs and growth.
The project will provide activities and support to help young people, aged 17 to 19, who have not been in employment, education or training (sometimes known as NEET) for six months or more, towards and into employment. The activities will include:
- professional, one-to-one support that includes handling first steps into paid work or higher education and training
- accredited entry-level training including employability skills in construction, catering, sports coaching, and in digital media
- supported work experience placements on community enterprises to develop employability skills and work readiness
- fun and accessible activities including short sided football sessions, bicycle assembly and maintenance, and quad biking.
Councillor Susan Brown, Board Member for Customer and Corporate Services said: “I am delighted that this excellent project is now also being boosted by Big Lottery funding to match the European funding. It provides valuable help to some of our most disadvantaged young people - those who have not worked or been in education or training for six months or more. Critically, funding is available to cover childcare, subsistence and transport costs and to help young people continue to develop their chosen activities”.
The City Council is partnering with nine local community organisations and social enterprises from across the county to provide these opportunities. Paul Roberts of the lead delivery partner, Aspire Oxfordshire, said: “This exciting project will use the power of community enterprise to unlock huge potential for Oxfordshire, through providing a fantastic range of employability support and opportunities for the young people in our county who need it most. It will also be a great opportunity for employers to engage positively with young people to help tackle their own recruitment needs.”