New funding scheme offers lift to employment and skills support in Norfolk and Suffolk
Archant Norfolk 2016
A funding scheme to aid the delivery of employment and skills support in rural areas has approved its first project.
Local Investment in Future Talent (LIFT), managed by Norfolk County Council, is offering funding to community-based organisations in Norfolk and north Suffolk.
The programme’s board – which comprises representatives of five local action groups – has awarded its first grant of £150,036 to Moore Networking.
The firm, based at Scottow Enterprise Park, will use the funding to set up a pilot for an apprenticeship training agency (ATA), TrAC Apprenticeships Norfolk, which will enable rural businesses to host apprenticeships for care leavers and other vulnerable young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).
Keith Kiddie, Norfolk County Council business and property committee chairman, said the LIFT programme could provide a “real boost to rural Norfolk”.
“To be able to award the first LIFT grant is a significant achievement, and to award it to such a worthwhile project is particularly pleasing,” he said.
TrAC Apprenticeships Norfolk ATA will give specialist support to the care leavers to help them gain confidence and increase their qualifications. Staff at the businesses involved will also receive training to support and mentor the young people.
Sally Moore from Moore Networking said: “The funding will enable us to demonstrate that care leavers and other vulnerable young people can, with the right degree of wrap-around pastoral support, complete apprenticeships in line with the wider population.”
Michelle de Oude, chair of the LIFT programme board, added: “This is a great start to the LIFT programme which we believe can support some transformational rural projects.”
The three-year LIFT scheme, funded by the European Social Fund, is split into three strands, each of which has been allocated a share of the £1m available.
LIFT Jobs supports projects enabling organisations to engage with disadvantaged individuals to move them into, or closer to, employment.
LIFT Trials is for projects helping organisations to deliver support to businesses so they can offer work experience to people with little or no workplace experience.
LIFT Skills supports projects which deliver training to people employed in rural businesses.