Funding to support employment in the Western Isles

Inset - Comhairle Leader, Roddie MacKay, welcomed the ESF award news, which he said would help the most vulnerable in our community and protect jobs in the area.
Inset - Comhairle Leader, Roddie MacKay, welcomed the ESF award news, which he said would help the most vulnerable in our community and protect jobs in the area.

Funding to help people into employment and gain qualifications has been secured by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

The Local Authority has been successful in an application to the European Structural and Investment Fund to extend its Western Isles Strategic Employability Programme.

The initial the programme, which began in 2015, was awarded European a Social Fund (ESF) grant of £770,000.00, but has now secured a further £1,457,794, giving a total grant pot of £2,227,794 up to December 2022.

The programme provides support to individuals in the Islands who have multiple barriers to employment and who have the potential to move into sustained employment or self-employment.

The programme also offers support to those in low skilled employment to gain appropriate qualifications to enable them to progress.

The range of individuals supported include:

Young people, including those who have disengaged from the formal school process, who need additional support to move forward towards a positive employability destination.

Long-term unemployed including those with mental health difficulties or addiction difficulties.

Unemployed adults with specific learning difficulties.

Unqualified trainees and employees living and working in peripheral and economically fragile geographical areas in the Western Isles.

Under-employed migrant workers working in low-skilled, low paid jobs.

By the end of the programme in December 2022 it is anticipated that over 450 individuals will be s upported by the funding.

It is hoped by that point around 57 unemployed participants will enter further education or training programmes; 111 unemployed participants will secure employment, including self-employment and 149 employed participants will gain a qualification.

Comhairle Leader, Roddie MacKay, welcomed the ESF award news.

He said: “This is another example of good partnership working between the Comhairle and Scottish Government.

“The continuation of the Employability Programme protects jobs and ensures that the most vulnerable people in our communities continue to have every opportunity to fulfil their potential in terms of education, skills and training.”