A scheme which helps County Durham residents get into work has been given additional funding of more than £1million.
The Employability Durham team has been successful in securing £1.1million from the European Social Fund (ESF) following a competitive bidding process lasting over a year.
The new funding will allow the Durham Advance project to support a further 1,000-plus residents who are aged 25 and over with a special emphasis on people aged over 50 and those with health conditions.
The money will combine with £733,333 of match funding giving a total of £1,833,333 to extend the programme to December 2023. This not only cements the council’s commitment to tackling unemployment in the area but also safeguards the jobs of a number of the delivery team as Employability Durham is almost wholly externally funded.
Since March 2020, the team has adapted its delivery to work with clients remotely, utilising phone, social media, text, email and video calling. Although this has been a steep learning curve for all, it has strengthened the skills of advisers and clients alike as the team tackles the changing labour market landscape.
The programme now includes one-to-one advice and guidance striving for more effective and realistic job searches, making use of time to upskill, plan and equip participants with the skills and resilience to overcome barriers to employment now, as well as in the future.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “This funding will play a huge role in helping many County Durham residents into employment.
“In difficult times such as those we currently find ourselves in, we’re delighted to be able to offer this type of support in what is a competitive and ever-changing jobs market.
“In the near future, we would also like clarity on what funding will be available from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace ESF funding, towards this vital programme.”
Employability Durham has also recently received funding which has enabled it to launch a new ‘filling the gaps’ provision in the form of Flex, which aims to support those who might not have been eligible for employment help previously.
Two other projects that help County Durham residents with their search for a job – North Durham Assist and Employability Mentoring – have also been granted extensions to continue delivery to December 2021.
This strengthened package of support, in place for the next three years, cements the council’s commitment to supporting local residents through the economic recovery phase and beyond.
Those looking for additional information on Employability Durham should email [email protected] or call 03000 262009 or go to https://www.durham.gov.uk/article/24689/Support-to-find-a-job for further support.