Department for Work and Pensions
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£27m support to improve skills and increase job opportunities

£27m support to improve skills and increase job opportunities

DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS News Release (Reference EMP-115) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 4 November 2008

£27 million of new European Social Fund (ESF) money will be invested in innovative projects to help people improve skills and stay in work, or develop new skills and find a new job.

Interested organisations are being called on to submit proposals to run regional projects which will develop, test and deliver new ways of extending employment opportunities and improving skills. Each project will work with at least one partner from another EU Member State.

This money is part of the Government's ongoing support to help people retrain and find work in tough global economic times. It is in addition to the £100m recently made available for skills training, particularly for those who are currently facing redundancy.

Welcoming the ESF investment, Tony McNulty, Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform said:

"At a time when we are facing global economic challenges it is essential that we make sure everyone has the right skills for the vacancies which exist and that employers are looking to fill.

"This initiative will help break down barriers that prevent people achieving their potential, and tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our society. It will boost the support we offer to unemployed and disadvantaged people to improve their skills and return to work."

This new money will be targeted at projects helping people find jobs by:

* Helping people who may find it harder to get back into work, for example disabled people or lone parents

* Working with employers to ensure people have the right skills for the jobs available

* Offering training in computer skills

* Targeting help at older workers

* Training for "green jobs"

* Training and support to set up and manage not-for-profit enterprises.

Up to three projects will be supported in each English region, plus Cornwall, Merseyside and South Yorkshire. Regional ESF committees have selected which of the six themes will be available in their regions.

Notes to editors

1. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 17 December 2008. Projects are expected to start in spring 2009 and will usually run for up to three years. Applicants will need to provide at least 50% match funding (or 25% in the case of applicants in Cornwall).

2. Further information has been placed on the ESF website at

3. This money is separate to the ESF funding announced two weeks ago by James Purnell and John Denham.

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