26 Feb 2018

The Active Inclusion Fund supports a number of alternative upskilling projects from supported employment opportunities to using the outdoors as a pathway to further opportunities.

41 organisations across Wales are benefiting from the most recent round of the Active Inclusion Fund. An impressive £5.1 million will go towards a range of projects that work with people furthest from the labour market to support them into further learning, volunteering opportunities or employment. The fund is supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) and run by WCVA on behalf of the Welsh European Funding Office.

The newly funded projects will work closely with individuals to provide tailored support and activities in order to build confidence, increase skills and prepare them for the next steps in their journey to employment. The advantage of the funding is that the grant recipients design their own project and determine what support and activities would best suit their participants. The Outdoor Partnership in North Wales has received £51,167 for its 'Walking Higher' project, which will use the Snowdonia National Park as a vehicle to employment.

Outdoor Partnership

The project will work with individuals aged 25+ who are unemployed or economically inactive and live in the counties of Gwynedd, Conwy and Anglesey. Instead of a 'standard' upskilling programme, it will centre its engagement activities on walking and climbing in the outdoors to help participants develop essential transferrable work skills such as working as part of a group, health and safety, time management and wellbeing. The aim is to motivate them into employment whilst leading more active lifestyles, improving their personal confidence, fitness, health and well-being.

Tracey Evans, Chief Executive of The Outdoor Partnership said: 
"The Outdoor Partnership is very grateful for the funding and opportunity to deliver a mountaineering programme to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend outdoor activities due to social barriers. Thank you WCVA for the fantastic opportunity."

Tessa White, WCVA's Head of Grants, said: "We recently improved the application process and terms of funding and the response to these changes has been very encouraging. The funds will be running to the end of 2019, so there is still time to apply and make a difference to your community."

The scope of the Active Inclusion Fund is wide and organisations can use the funding to deliver paid supported employment placements as well as engagement activities. Merthyr Tydfil Citizens Advice Bureau's 'You're Hired' project will receive £33,192 to support people aged over 25 back into work through supported employment placements. The participants will carry out their placements in the advice and admin departments and will be supported by the centre's trained staff. They'll gain experience of working with the public, administration, IT, communication and of working in a third sector and modern business environment. They'll achieve a level 2 qualification and a work relevant certificate in Interview Skills, which will support them into employment. As well as gaining experience and qualifications, the project will support them to apply for jobs, prepare CVs and even offer role-play interviews.

Lisa Howell-Morgan, Chief Executive of Merthyr Tydfil Citizens Advice Bureau said about the project: " 'You're Hired!' will offer opportunities to individuals in Merthyr Tydfil that are furthest away from the labour Market, giving them the skills and confidence to support them back into employment. It's great that WCVA has awarded Citizens Advice Merthyr Tydfil with this funding to remove the barriers that many in our community face."