An innovative Weston College-led partnership has secured the go-ahead for a plan to help unemployed people in the West of England find employment.

The project, entitled ‘West of England Works’, is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme and involves a range of voluntary and community organisations based in Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, and Bath and North East Somerset.

£6 million of funding has been awarded to the partnership by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund, and it is hoped that West of England Works will support at least 1537 young people and adults into gaining employment through a community-based support programme.

Dr Paul Phillips OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College, said: “This partnership will bring unique and innovative opportunities to people in the region, and will support those furthest from the labour market to move towards, or secure, sustainable employment or training.

“Partnership and working with local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations has been key to the development of West of England Works and the success of this bid.

“This could not have been achieved without the West of England Civil Society Partnership, which works with local organisations that support people in communities across the area, breaking down barriers and working across boundaries.”

The partnership was launched on the 8th of December 2016 at a meeting of key stakeholders in Weston College’s Conference Centre.

The project has received funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.

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