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European Social Fund Programme Helps in Fight Against Poverty

A report has found that European Social Fund (ESF) funding helps to bring people from poorer and disadvantaged backgrounds into the workforce and career paths, it was announced today.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has been allocated £29.5 million for the pan-London European Social Fund Objective 3, as part of the organisations remit to make England better skilled and more competitive. The LSC work nationally regionally and locally, as was announced most recently by Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the LSC, in his speech to the Assocation of Colleges (AoC) Conference. This programme, for the London region, is currently funding 58 projects across the nation’s capital and is intending to meet the needs of hard-to-reach beneficiaries throughout London.

The Report

The report’s findings support the work that the LSC is doing through the ESF programme. It finds that the “disadvantaged” sections of society, such as ethnic minorities, refugees and asylum seekers, women, people with disabilities, lone parents and the long-term unemployed, are being helped to improve their skills and training and enter the labour market through what is known as tailored learning provision.

Amongst the areas that are provided for within ESF funding is the provision of accredited English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training to meet the skills demands of many of London’s unemployed ““ along with some employed individuals ““ to address the low level of numeracy, literacy and English language skills. The report highlights gaps in the provision, and also points to the need for some courses to not be accredited as it offers more flexibility to employers.

ESF and ECOTEC

The announcement marks the latest development in the ESF programme. The programme is one of four so ““ called “Structural Funds” that are designed to strengthen the economic and social cohesion in the European Union. In the current funding regime, the programmes run from 2000 to 2006. It is anticipated that the total provision of funding through the ESF for Britain will amount to £4.5 billion, with £3.5 billion in England.

The company commissioned for the report, ECOTEC Research and Consulting, is managing the LSC Pan-London ESF Objective 3 Programme on behalf of the five London LSCs (North, East, South, West and Central). It will also oversee the delivery of the funds, as mentioned above, during the period of 2005 ““ 2008. The company is blessed with expertise in both the private and public sectors, providing services in research, consultancy and programme management with over 200 people working from offices in Birmingham (Head Office), Brussels, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Madrid, Manchester.

Jethro Marsh

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