£573,163 is being invested in improving the skills of staff working in the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The aim of the ‘Upskilling the VCSE’ project, which runs until April 2018, is to enable better and sustained support from VCSE staff to help priority groups into employment, and to identify ways of increasing volunteering as a route back to work or as a method of developing new skills. Priority groups include young people, the long-term unemployed and those who find it difficult to gain employment, for instance with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, homeless people and people over 50.

The project is delivered by the Learning Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, acting as contract manager for a collective of delivery partners who are specialists in different client groups or activity.

Louisa Jenkins, Senior Contract Manager at The Learning Partnership for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, said:

‘VCSE sector organisations are at the heart of reaching and engaging positively with the people ESF funding aims to help. It is important that people working and volunteering within the sector are able to access the skills and knowledge they need.

‘This project is helping us put in place the building blocks to improve the resilience of the voluntary and community sector. This is even more important at time when it’s being placed under increased pressure due to the reduction in public sector spending.

‘We are very excited to be delivering this project through our well-established partnership. We are a specialist in delivering ESF projects, having supported over 30,000 people through the previous programme of EU-funded projects. The partners have been selected as they are all currently supporting VCSE organisations through their existing work and are able to readily identify suitable organisations to work with.’

The partners are as follows:

Anyone interested in accessing the training on offer should contact a delivery partner using the contact details above. For more information about the project, contact Louisa Jenkins at The Learning Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly: lcjenkins@cornwall-learning-partnership.org, 01209 216136.