The initial phase of the programme, which began in 2015, was awarded European Social Fund (ESF) grant aid of £770,000.00 and the extension has secured a further £1,457,794.00 giving a total ESF grant of £2,227,794.00 up to December 2022.
The programme provides targeted support to individuals in the Western Isles who have multiple barriers to employment and who have the potential to move into sustained employment and/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 and/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 supported. Key programme outcomes 2015 -2022 are:
- 57 unemployed participants will enter further education or training programmes.
- 111 unemployed participants will secure employment, including self-employment.
- 149 employed participants will gain a qualification.
Comhairle Leader, Roddie MacKay, welcomed the ESF award news as “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”.