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Project: Berkshire Future Talent/The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC)

Summary: The Enterprise Adviser Network was conceived by the CEC to link senior business volunteers with school leadership teams and help them develop an inspirational and realistic careers education programme. By engaging with business, young people get more opportunities to talk to real people in real careers and prepare them for the world of work.

Delivery Partner: Thames Valley Berkshire LEP.

Total LEP investment of Local Growth Funds (LGF): Not applicable.

Total cost of scheme: £76k of kick start funds from the CEC. Grant claims of £61,382.45 for the period of 2016 to 2019.

Status: The Thames Valley Berkshire Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN) currently boasts 41 schools and continues to work strategically with schools to provide realistic and valuable business oversight and forge meaningful relationships with businesses in the area. This will create robust school employer engagement plans with LMI at its heart. The CEC and LEP has partnered with Heathrow Airport to co-fund a Careers & Enterprise Co-ordinator. This partnership will enable the expansion of the Enterprise Adviser Network through the recruitment of a further 20 Enterprise Advisers from across Heathrow Airport, its supply chain and other businesses in the area.

Scheme benefits: The EAN links senior business volunteers with school leadership teams to help them develop an inspirational and realistic careers education programme. By engaging with business, young people get more opportunities to talk to real people in real careers and prepare them for the world of work.

Project: Elevate Berkshire

Summary: The Programme seeks to address the skills gaps, unemployment and underemployment of the 16-24-year-old population. The aim is to deliver employment and skills support for 4,500 young people.

Delivery Partners: Reading BC, Wokingham BC, West Berkshire Council, RBWM, Bracknell Forest Council, Ways into Work, Prince’s Trust, Adviza, Kennedy Scott, West Berkshire Training Consortium, Optalis.

Total LEP investment: £2.4m European Social Funds (ESF) enabled through the LEP’s ESIF Strategy.

Total cost of scheme: £5.1 million.

Status: To date 2,262 people have been engaged in activities to improve their work readiness: 57 are single parents; 1,425 were unemployed; 530 are from ethnic minorities and 721 have a disability. 602 gained employment/training.

Scheme benefits: To deliver:

  • 50% reduction in youth unemployment
  • 1,300 new employment opportunities for young people
  • 1,500 work experience placements

Project: WOOP (Worlds of Opportunity)

Summary: WOOP aims to raise awareness of STEAM and help plug the skills gap by promoting opportunities and seeking talent. It will also help ensure that education and training programmes keep pace with employers’ needs.

Delivery Partner: Adviza.

Total LEP investment: £665,400 ESF enabled through the LEP’s ESIF Strategy.

Total cost of scheme: £665,400.

Status: WOOP brought together over 19,000 people with more than 300 STEAM employers in Berkshire. All state secondary schools and Further Education Colleges were invited to participate in the project, with Year 10 and 11 pupils from 84 establishments taking part in the events (this also included some independent schools) across an even spread of the six unitary authority areas.  Employers of all sizes took part in the project including large ones such as Thames Water, Jacobs, Three, O2, Dell, Virgin Media and the Army, along with SMEs such as Connect Systems, UK Cloud and Emerson Rosemount Ltd. 

The following was delivered by the end of March 2019:

  • 1 Skills Strategy and Action Plan - in collaboration with the Warwick Institute for Employment Research
  • 22 large events to raise awareness
  • 73 small events to raise awareness
  • 268 work placements 
  • 257 STEAM Champions

Scheme benefits: The aim of the project was to increase awareness of STEAM and influence the providers of education, training and support to deliver learning programmes that employers want. As a result, the supply, i.e. young people, graduates and existing employees will meet existing and future demand.

Project: Promoting Apprenticeships

Summary: The Berkshire Apprenticeship Hub was created to facilitate an increase in apprenticeships at all levels in Berkshire but particularly focusing on those employers that have not offered apprenticeships previously or operate in the LEP priority sectors; and to arrest the decline of apprenticeship participation across the area.

Delivery Partner: Slough Aspire (Berkshire Apprenticeship Hub) and a consortium of partners led by the Windsor Forest Colleges Group.

LEP investment: £513,608 ESF enabled through the LEP’s ESIF Strategy.

Total cost of scheme: £513,608.

Status: The project has delivered 189 new learners and worked with 113 SMEs.

Scheme benefits: The Hub was a one-stop shop for businesses of all sizes to gain fast and easy access to information on apprenticeship programmes and the latest funding.  The Berkshire Apprenticeship Awards took place in November 2018 as a celebration of the difference that apprenticeships can make to business and to showcase the amazing achievements of apprentices, employers and training providers across the area.

Project: STEM Solutions Labs

Summary: Solutions Labs are designed to raise the quality and profile of STEM provision across Berkshire and support the development of a young workforce. 

Project Title: STEM Solutions Lab at Reading College.

Summary: 277m² of refurbished state-of-the-art engineering learning facilities has been created to promote STEM skills development. The Lab includes upgraded accommodation, a new Engineering and IT learning base equipped with flexible work layouts, furniture, equipment and IT required to support a wide range of theoretical and practical teaching and learning needs.

Delivery Partner: Reading College (Active Learning).

LEP investment of Local Growth Funds (LGF): £50,000.

Total cost of scheme: £151,049.

Status: 42 new apprenticeships positions created and 107 new learners assisted as a direct result of the intervention in courses leading to a full qualification.

Scheme benefits: The lab is forecast to deliver 150 jobs/apprenticeships and 400 new learners by 2024/25.

Project Title: Newbury College Solutions Lab.

Summary: 216m² of new learning space has been fitted with leading technology to enable the College’s engineering apprentices to research, design and develop components for their employers.

Delivery Partner: Newbury College.

LEP investment of Local Growth Funds (LGF): £333,333.

Total cost of scheme: £1,000,000.

Status: 108 new apprenticeships positions created and 615 new learners assisted as a direct result of the intervention in courses leading to a full qualification.

Scheme benefits: The lab is forecast to deliver 516 jobs/apprenticeships and 1380 new learners by 2024/25.

 

Project Title: Reading College IT Solutions Lab.

Summary: The Lab offers high quality facilities to help young people develop networking, data security, software engineering and other technical skills.

Delivery Partner: Reading College (Active Learning).

LEP investment of Local Growth Funds (LGF): £130,033.

Total cost of scheme: £260,067.

Status: 18 new apprenticeships positions created and 192 new learners assisted as a direct result of the intervention in courses leading to a full qualification.

Scheme benefits: 400m2 of improved learning / training floorspace.

Project Title:  Solutions Lab Specialising in Sustainable Energy at Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA).

Summary:  Refurbishment of an existing engineering workshop has provided 300m2 space for the new Sustainable Energy Centre. The aim is to provide a modern setting for training in renewable energy engineering and associated skills, specifically in the use of biomass systems for domestic and commercial settings.  The College is working closely with LC Energy, a local biomass specialist.  The Centre will serve as a base for development and training in biomass systems and associated aspects of mechanical and agricultural engineering to equip a future workforce.

Delivery Partner: BCA (Berkshire College of Agriculture).

LEP investment of Local Growth Funds (LGF): £250,000.

Total cost of scheme: £250,000.

Status: 20 new apprenticeships positions created and 10 new learners assisted as a direct result of the intervention in courses leading to a full qualification.

Scheme benefits: The lab is forecast to deliver 58 jobs/apprenticeships and 300 new learners by 2024/25. The College will also work with other local providers to provide enhanced, higher level skills for learners who have basic training in areas such as gas or mechanical engineering, which will provide a wider breadth of knowledge and employability skills.

Project: Skills Revenue Investments

Summary: These investments aim to deliver skills that are required by employers in Berkshire, which will better ensure that the offer meets the skills demand in the local economy, drives growth and addresses skills gaps.

Project Title: Digital Gum.

Summary: Launched in September 2017, Digital Gum is a 6-week course to help apprentices and return-to-work parents upgrade their digital skills. With STEAM at its core, Digital Gum is delivered by digital experts and focuses on giving delegates, or ‘digital explorers’, the skills that employers really need as well as learning new skills such as coding, app design and producing video content. 

Delivery Partner: Connect Thames Valley Tech.

Total LEP investment: £75,000 through Growing Places Fund (Revenue).

Total cost of scheme: £75,000.

Status: 80 students completed the course - many were re-launchers but some were small businesses who felt their digital skills were holding them back in terms of building their businesses.

Scheme benefits: The employment training programme aimed to develop in-demand skills that businesses need to thrive in Berkshire’s growing digital economy.

Project Title: Berkshire Cares.

Summary: Berkshire Cares aimed to help raise the profile and ambition of the workforce in a drive to recruit the right people to the sector. The programme focused on the positive role of care workers and was designed to support care providers across Berkshire, who often experience difficulties in recruiting. This can in turn affect the availability of care to people who could be living independently at home, or in care homes.

Delivery Partner: Skills for Care, JobCentre Plus, Bracknell & Wokingham College.

Total LEP investment: £75,000 through Growing Places Fund (Revenue).

Total cost of scheme: £75,000.

Status: 133 people attended workshops to improve their skills and knowledge in the care sector. The project boasts 33 ‘I Care…Ambassadors’.

Scheme benefits:‘I Care…Ambassadors’ inspire and motivate people to understand more about working in adult social care. These Ambassadors help people to make informed decisions about their careers by visiting schools, colleges, job fairs and Job Centres, and run a range of careers activities, such as presentations and mentoring.

Project: Skills Support for the Workforce

Summary: Tailored training courses set up to address the skills gaps of those currently employed but requiring skills development. The focus is on addressing the needs identified in the LEP’s Skills Priority Statement. Working across Berkshire, the project delivery partners provide a range of relevant vocational training opportunities in priority skills needs and sectors. 

Delivery Partner: Consortium led by the Windsor Forest Colleges Group.

Total LEP investment: £900,000 ESF enabled through the LEP’s ESIF Strategy.

Total cost of scheme: £900,000.

Status:The project has supported 695 new learners and worked with 117 SMEs.

Scheme benefits: To upskill the workforce of SMEs in Berkshire by offering tailored training courses to address the skills gaps of those currently employed but requiring skills development.

Project: Addressing barriers to work in the West of Berkshire

Summary: The Stronger Together Partnership includes organisations across the voluntary and community sector and is open to all eligible participants from the west of the LEP area, concentrating on the most deprived areas to help the most vulnerable in society back into employment.

Delivery Partner: Consortium led by Reading Borough Council.

Total LEP investment: £1,317,540 ESF enabled through the LEP’s ESIF Strategy.

Total cost of scheme: £1,317,540.

Status: To date 72 people have been engaged in activities to improve their work readiness: 36 are men and 35 are women; 25 are from ethnic minorities and 27 have a disability.

Scheme benefits: The project will support those in the West of Berkshire who are furthest from the labour market, through tailored action plans to improve skills and increase confidence. Individualised support to overcome barriers to work will include key workers, tutoring and jobs clubs. Specialist support will be offered for those with additional barriers to employment, including ex-offenders.

Project: Building Family Bridges (supporting families with complex needs)

Summary: Supporting families with complex needs living in Berkshire, the project helps to address the multiple barriers preventing them from entering and sustaining employment. It supports families facing at least one of the criteria for being ‘Troubled Families’. Families will have Key Worker support and personalised action plans.

Delivery Partner: Consortium led by Workers Educational Association.

Total LEP investment: £1,097,900 ESF enabled through the LEP’s ESIF Strategy.

Total cost of scheme: £1,097,900.

Status: 193 people have been engaged in activities to improve their work readiness: 39 are men and 154 are women. 79 are economically inactive; 28 are aged over 50; 79 are from ethnic minorities and 55 have a disability. A number of meetings, events and activities have taken place e.g. JCP Slough Empowering Women Conference, where a presentation about the project was delivered to 30 women; Brighter Futures for Children Market Place Event; and Compass Recovery College Wellbeing Day.

Family Support Workers has continued its regular surgeries at the Job Centres in Slough, Maidenhead, Bracknell, Newbury, and Reading.

Scheme benefits: By providing consistent support and constructive challenge through Family Support Workers the project will enable participants to identify their own long-term employment aims and ensure that they are able to access existing services, as well as filling gaps in those services such as family mediation or opportunities for families to have positive experiences together, building confidence and improving wellbeing.

Project: Addressing barriers to work in the East of Berkshire

Summary: The Stronger Together Partnership of 13 organisations across the voluntary and community sector is open to all eligible participants from the east of the LEP area, concentrating on the most deprived areas to help the most vulnerable in society back into employment.

Delivery Partner: Consortium led by Reading Borough Council.

Total LEP investment: £878,360 ESF enabled through the LEP’s ESIF Strategy.

Total cost of scheme: £878,360.

Status: 86 people have been engaged in activities to improve their work readiness: 40 are men and 46 are women. 14 are economically inactive; 21 are aged over 50; 55 are from ethnic minorities and 29 have a disability.

Scheme benefits: The project supports those in the East of Berkshire who are furthest from the labour market, through tailored action plans to improve skills and increase confidence. Individualised support to overcome barriers to work will include key workers, tutoring and jobs clubs. Specialist support is offered for those with additional barriers to employment, including ex-offenders.

Project: Solutions Lab University of Reading – HealthReach

Summary: A mobile Simulation and Interactive Learning Centre that promotes careers in Health and Life Sciences with visits to schools, colleges and community centres.

Delivery Partner: University of Reading.

Total LEP investment: £114,000.

Total cost of scheme: £114,000.

Status: Over 2,539 new students have been engaged in STEM awareness activities and the project has delivered 141 new work experience visits/taster sessions.

Scheme benefits: To improve the quality of teaching STEM-based subjects, provide opportunities for children to learn in real work environments and alongside healthcare professionals, and stimulate an interest in healthcare & life sciences subjects and careers.