Major bid for jobs money

COUNCIL bosses have submitted a major bid in the hope of unlocking millions of pounds worth of funding to help unemployed adults.

Hartlepool Borough Council has submitted a bid to tender for a £13m contract on behalf of the 12 local authorities in the North-East.

In November last year, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) launched a new round of tendering opportunities on a regional basis for European Social Fund (ESF) money.

There were three tendering opportunities including skills support for the unemployed, response to redundancy and work place learning.

It was agreed that the North-East councils would be regional partners for all three bids, with North Tyneside leading on Response to Redundancy, Gateshead on Work Place Learning and Hartlepool on the skills Support for the Unemployed.

Skills Support for the Unemployed is designed to give unemployed adults support and training to help them gain a job.

It comes after the Mail launched its Work in Progress campaign to highlight the plight of unemployed people in Hartlepool and follow three people in their bid to find jobs.

The total funding pot is worth £13m and included is funding to support employers to take on apprentices.

A grant of £1,500 is available to each employer who employs additional apprentices as part of the project.

If successful, the pot of money would be shared between the 12 North-East councils based on their percentage of unemployed adults.

Hartlepool Borough Council would also be given funding towards the management and administration of the scheme.

The bid was discussed by Labour councillor Peter Jackson at a recent meeting of his regeneration, economic development and skills portfolio.

Coun Jackson said: “We have some fantastic teams working on bids left, right and centre and my thanks go to the team for putting themselves out and working on the bid over the Christmas period.

“A lot of work was done in a short space of time.

“It was a fantastic effort and hopefully we will get something from it.”

The bids are currently being “scored” through an electronic tendering process.

Maggie Heaps, the council’s adult education co-ordinator, said: “This project is fully funded from the Skills Funding Agency so there are no financial implications.

“The total amount allocated in the bid is £13.2m over three years.

“These funds will be allocated to the other local authority providers according to the targets they are required to meet.

“There will be funds allocated within this for the management and administration of the project which will contribute to the core costs of the Hartlepool Adult Education service.”

Successful bidders will be announced at the end of February and the project will start in April and run until July 2015.

The project will be delivered by the 12 local authority adult learning services and other subcontractors who could be appointed if the bid is successful.