Case Studies : European Social Fund
Apex Ascend Project
£400,000 (to date)
2012 - ongoing
359: Participants receiving support
78: Participants entering employment
30: Participants entering education/ training
251: Participants gaining a partial or full qualification
Funding was required for the Apex Ascend Project to increase opportunities for ex-offenders and people at risk of offending to find work.
Apex Scotland works with prisoners, ex-offenders and people at risk of offending, providing skills training and education so that they can lead fulfilling lives. The organisation applied to the European Social Fund in 2011 to fund the Apex Ascend Project, a scheme designed to give those taking part the opportunity to gain qualifications, improve their job searching skills and to increase their levels of confidence and motivation.
To date the Apex Ascend project has supported 314 individuals. This figure is expected to reach a minimum of 390 by the project end date.
Apex Ascend case studies:
Mark joined the Apex project when the Addiction Team at HMP Prison Inverness put him forward for the scheme to strengthen his skills and secure him work. While in prison Mark regularly attended Apex CSCS training and also received acupuncture.
After six weeks of training he successfully passed his CSCS test and became eligible to apply for work on a construction site. He left prison in June 2013 and continued to receive Apex employability support.
A month later Mark took up a job as a roofer on a building site. More than a year later he is still working in the same role and his life is moving in a positive direction.
Apex Ascend case studies:
Aleksander joined the Apex Ascend Project while on
a structured deferred sentence. A native of Poland and with few
English language skills, Apex employed a translator and quickly
discovered that Aleksander was a qualified welder and engineer and
had his own business back in Poland.
In Scotland his fortunes had not been good and he had a series of short-term jobs working in fish factories.
Apex was instrumental in helping Aleksander to find work. The scheme helped him to create a CV, distribute it to recruitment companies and complete his Construction Skills Certification Scheme ( CSCS) training. Aleksander also attended free English lessons at a local church. Soon after, he was employed as an agricultural engineer at a local estate. Aleksander, his wife and their two children were overwhelmed by the support and assistance Apex provided and are now looking forward to a positive future.
The Calanas Training Programme Uist Wool
£114,000 (to date)
2012 - Present
31: Participants supported to date.
Grimsay, North Uist
Uist Wool was established in July 2011 to develop a mill in the community of Grimsay capable of using local sheep fleece to manufacture unusual yarns to be sold in the local community and across Scotland. Funding from LEADER was used to part-fund the construction of the mill and to assist with project coordination costs. However additional money was sought to develop training and employment opportunities in the local area.
The CALANAS training project was established in June 2012 to develop training and employment opportunities at Uist Wool and is part-funded by the European Social Fund.
The innovative programme is now entering its final year and has succeeded in introducing the community of Uist to wool-work and production spinning. CALANAS combines a blend of theory and practice, offering short two-day introduction to wool-work sessions and also more advanced intermediate wool-work course over a 10 week period. The final, and most advanced level of training, is the Mill Craft Engineering placement which focuses on the technical, production, design and business processes associated with small-scale artisan spinning.
The CALANAS training project has not only brought employment and training opportunities to the local area but has also developed Uist Wool into a popular tourist attraction, using a local resource in a way which is of benefit socially, economically and also culturally. By the summer of 2015 Uist Wool will move from training to trading when it uses the sale of artisan yarns and wool products to become self-financing.
Moving On Job Crew Project
2009 - 2012
71: Participants entering employment
56: Participants entering further education/training
Moving On Employment Project
A project was required to provide support and assistance for people with a range of difficulties which adversely affected their employability.
People affected by issues including homelessness, disability and mental health issues face challenges securing work. The difficulties finding a job can lead to feelings of discrimination, isolation and exclusion.
The Moving On Employment Project was established in 1997 to address these issues. In 2006 the project set up a new service called the Job Crew scheme. The service involved a team of clients, support workers and volunteers working together on small community or environmental projects to increase the skills, confidence and employability of clients. The scheme allows support workers to evaluate the ability of clients to operate in situations similar to a working environment.
The project has produced highly successful outcomes. Of 120 unemployed or economically inactive clients passing through the Job Crew scheme:
- 80% improved their practical skills;
- 77% felt their self-esteem had improved;
- 75% learned new skills;
- 73% felt more confident about work;
- 75% felt more motivated.
- Of the 120 people who took part, 71 (60%) found jobs.
- 47% went into further education or training.
The project has won a number of awards including:
- 2007 - The Shetland Amenity Trust Environmental Award for work that the Job Crew carried out on a community garden in Sandness.
- 2009 - won the same award for the creation of a wheelchair accessible path down to a popular beach in Lerwick.
- 2011 - short listed for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations ( SCVO) charity of the year award.
"The project helped me boost my confidence getting out, working
with others and meeting new people."
Job Crew Client
Ayrshire Youth Employment Service ( AYE)
2013 - Present
1250: Job opportunities created
North, East and South Ayrshire
North, East & South Ayrshire with North Ayrshire acting as Lead Partner
To develop a project to reduce youth unemployment throughout Ayrshire and strengthen local social and economic activity.
Youth unemployment is a long-standing issue in Ayrshire and one which has a damaging effect on the economic and social fabric of the area. On behalf of the three Ayrshires, North Ayrshire Council approached the European Social Fund in 2013 to fund the Ayrshire Youth Employment Service ( AYE). The AYE project works alongside existing youth employment services in Ayrshire, including the Youth Employment Scotland Programme ( YES), modern apprenticeships and graduate programmes already successful in reducing youth unemployment throughout Ayrshire.
The £1.2 million of European Structural Funding, which will be distributed across Ayrshire through the AYE project, will help to up-scale existing youth employment services, provide additional places on successful programmes currently running in the area as well as support new initiatives to reduce youth unemployment. The money will provide funding for 1250 16-24 year olds with 50% of the national minimum wage for 26 weeks employment with an SME, with the employer matching the additional 50%. This will encourage local employers to hire young unemployed people when they might not otherwise have had the resources to do so. The project also works closely with local businesses to ensure young people learn the skills and attitude necessary to sustain long-term employment.
"The scheme helped Scott Engineering take me on, together with
recruiting other apprentices at the same time. This has allowed the
company to put extra funds towards extra training."
Social Enterprise Academy
(to date for both projects)
2008 - Present
1294: Participants supported
(to date for both projects)
Highlands & Islands
Social Enterprise Academy
Social Enterprise Academy required ESF funding to deliver transformational learning and development programmes to people and organisations working for social purpose, focusing on leadership, entrepreneurship, personal development and social impact.
The Social Enterprise Academy first applied to the European Social Fund in 2008 to fund the 'Developing Leaders for Sustainable Communities' project based in the Highlands & Islands. The project worked with social enterprises and SMEs, developing the leadership skills and confidence of managers working in rural communities. The project was so successful that Social Enterprise Academy are now in the final stages of their second ESF funded project 'Working with Social Enterprise'.
The work of the Social Enterprise Academy helped two projects to develop into sustainable commercial ventures.
In 2008, Niall Urquhart was leading a small local authority project in Argyll called Stramash, providing outdoor activities for young people. Funding was running low and Niall was unsure whether he would be able to turn Stramash into a stand-alone social enterprise. During a 12-day Certificate in Leadership programme in Oban, he developed confidence in his own leadership skills and decided to give it a go. His tutor, Karen Darke, was so impressed by his work that she became a patron of the new organisation.
Five years later, Stramash is well established as a leading social enterprise and now employing 36 people. Over the last five years the Academy's ESF-funded programmes have supported Niall on his journey - including programmes on social impact measurement, managing finance, procurement and also a strategic leadership residential course.
In 2011, the Care & Learning Alliance decided to look at the potential to develop a social enterprise to generate income to subsidise their charitable activities. They already had a grant-funded mobile crèche and decided this could be the basis for a new social enterprise.
The Academy delivered a Starting Your Social Enterprise programme for Care & Learning Alliance senior leaders. Two of the team followed this with a leadership residential course and it was on this course that the social enterprise 'Smart Childcare' was born. Chief Executive Fiona Ednie said: "We sat down one evening and wrote up the bones of the business plan there and then."
Smart Childcare has grown rapidly to offer mobile childcare and a range of sitter and other services across Highland & Moray. The organisation has a pool of 190 part-time staff, many of whom use their work with Smart Childcare to help them re-engage with employment after taking time out due to childcare or family care commitments.
"Social Enterprise Academy programmes have always been there, to
support my development as a leader, dipping in and out at just the
right time in the development of Stramash as an organisation."
£1.4 million (to date)
2010 - Present
2249: Total number of participants receiving support (to date)
Scottish Lowlands & Uplands
Small and medium-sized businesses required support and guidance to help them to expand into international markets.
Scottish Enterprise applied to the European Social Fund in 2010 to fund the Smart Exporter project. The aim of the project was to work alongside agencies including Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Business Gateway and Scottish Development International, offering training and skills to enable businesses to expand internationally.
One of the many businesses benefiting from the Smart Exporter Project was Tartan Twist, an award-winning, design-led gift company. The company was launched in 2008 by Lyndsey Bowditch, a successful design entrepreneur, and Gillian Crawford, a national newspaper journalist.
Inspired by their love of Scotland, its history and heritage, the duo's vision was to create a range of luxurious, affordable and authentic Scottish gifts. Winning Best New Scottish Product at Scotland's International Trade Fair in 2008 - the leading showcase for Scottish companies - was a huge boost for the company. The company was also nominated as Jewellery and Accessory Designer of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2010 in association with Vogue.com, an important accolade at Scotland's most prestigious fashion event.
Although Tartan Twist initially focused on the Scottish market it was during the launch at the Scottish Trade Fair in 2008 that the company first received interest from overseas customers. The business secured interest and orders from countries including North America and Japan, a development which led to Tartan Twist products being sold in York Tartan Stores throughout Japan from January 2009.
"We undertook an intensive six week Smart Exporter programme
through Scottish Development International which allowed us to put
together a blueprint for our overseas expansion. We knew we had a
product with strong export potential but we were aware that we had
to plan our international growth in an organised and structured
fashion, following our blueprint and identifying and focusing on
our key target markets."
Founding partner of Tartan Twist
The Prince's Trust - Team & Enterprise Programmes
£3.2 million (to date)
2009 - Present
4608: Total number of participants receiving support
858: Participants entering employment
1809: Participants gaining a partial or full qualification
1331: Participants entering education or training
(Figures are combined to represent both projects)
Scottish Lowlands & Uplands
The Prince's Trust
Young people can face multiple barriers to employment including education, training or simply confidence and motivation.
The European Social Fund has supported several Prince's Trust projects over the last seven years and is proud to be part of the often life-changing work the Trust does with young people. One project in particular, 'Addressing Disadvantage Through Team', has been instrumental in providing support for young people to overcome challenges and achieve their ambitions. The project was a great success and was extended in 2011 with the addition of several new training courses including Get Started, Get Into and The Enterprise Programme.
Simon, 19, from Peterhead, struggled at school. He was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fell in with the wrong crowd and got into trouble for fighting in and out of school. By 15, he had criminal convictions for various offences including assault, theft and possession of a knife. He said: "I had no motivation, no education, no job - everything around me pointed to failure. I thought I had no hope."
Simon's criminal justice social worker referred him to Team, a Prince's Trust programme designed to improve employment prospects for unemployed young people. After graduating from Team, Simon volunteered to work on the next programme as an Assistant Team Leader, helping others overcome their own barriers to a better life. Afterwards he attended a career fair and managed to secure an apprenticeship at a logistics firm.
He said: "The Prince's Trust showed me my choices. They opened a door to so many different opportunities, I realised my life could be whatever I made it. Without their support I'd probably be in jail or not even here anymore. Instead I feel great and have a lot going for me."
Simon has now been in full-time employment for more than a year. He is in a relationship, has his own house and plans to stay happy, focus on promotion and have a family.
Rachel, 21, from Dundee, had been through a lot and had suffered mental health problems as a result. Her lack of confidence and social experiences prompted her community health nurse to point Rachel in the direction of Team.
Rachel said: "I was petrified of groups and didn't think I'd be able to cope. However the support I got from my Team leader was incredible and helped me overcome my fears."
Every day on Team saw Rachel improve, particularly during one-to-one sessions with her Team leader. She became aware of her qualities, learned how to put them to use, and during a residential week away overcame her fear of groups by leading and supporting other young people who were struggling.
She said: "If I hadn't got involved with The Prince's Trust, I'd never have realised what I'm capable of and would still be depressed and not doing anything. Now, for the first time in years I have manageable goals to achieve and a positive path in front of me."
No longer afraid of groups or meeting new people Rachel is now studying art and design at college and hopes to develop a career in art therapy.
Robert, 19, from Fife, showed his entrepreneurial streak at a very young age, selling his old toys and books outside his house to other children on his estate. When he left school, he couldn't find work and started dreaming of running his own fashion business.
"I looked into different self-employment courses, but they were all too expensive," he said. "Then I heard about the Enterprise programme."
Enterprise is a Prince's Trust programme helping unemployed young people to start up in business. Robert enrolled and quickly flourished. He soaked up advice on topics covering everything from financial management to marketing, took on board the advice of his Trust mentor who helped him develop a business plan, then launched blaakslvr, an online fashion store selling quality t-shirts and jewellery at affordable prices.
He said: "I would not be where I am today without the continued help and support of The Prince's Trust. They were instrumental in giving me the confidence, knowledge and self-belief to go ahead and start blaakslvr. They are really helping the youth of today achieve their full potential."
Robert has worked tirelessly to promote his brand online and in person at club nights and parties that he has hosted across Scotland and the UK. Although he's only been trading since March 2013, Robert has quickly built a reputation for quality, and he's proud to include Made in Chelsea television star Caggie Dunlop among his customers.