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Issue 8 | February 2015

People Group - Information about the People Group, including terms of reference, meeting minutes and research reports is available on the HotSW LEP website.  Please visit regularly to keep up to date.

About the Skills Newsletter
Produced by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership's People Group, this monthly newsletter aims to keep people informed of current news and activity.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is a strong and dynamic partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and further education across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay with the purpose of leading and influencing economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West.
Welcome to the February edition of the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Skills Newsletter.

This month we have included information on the Big Data event held in January. The newsletter also contains articles on two programmes held in Exeter: the Welcome to Exeter customer service pilot and the Rugby Empowering Employment Programme.

We can also report that the ESIF programme is likely to be agreed with national and EU government by the end of this month.  We can now start making progress with our opt in providers and work with our partners to forward projects for funding out of the European Social Fund, European Regional Development Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Please contact us if you have any news you would like us to include in future editions of the newsletter.

Stephen Criddle, Chair, HotSW LEP People Group, LEP Board member, Principal and CEO, South Devon College.

Data is the new oil: South West set to become world leader in big data

The Big Data conference held in Exeter last month was a great success and was attended by around 80 delegates from across the area.

The event looked at how to expand the big data sector in the South West and concluded that the area could soon become a global leader in the big data sector if the right skills are developed, leading to massive economic benefits for the whole area.

Organised by the Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board, the event was completely interactive and allowed delegates to take part in focused debates inspired by the speakers.

You can read more about the event on the HotSW LEP website

European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) Update

Progress on ESIF continues to be made at both a national and local level.

Government has secured agreement in principle its European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) programme and work continues to reach agreement on both the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes. 

Government is optimistic that agreement in principle will be secured by the end of this month.

Moving forward the Heart of the South West LEP will be:
  • Updating our ESIF Strategy document, so that it can be published in final form in time for the launch of the programmes;
  • Publishing information on the timing of calls once this is known;
  • Working closely with the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Work and Pensions to help develop the first call documentation;
  • Working closely with the ESF Opt-in providers: Skills Funding Agency, Department of Work and Pensions and Big Lottery Fund to agree scope of their activity.
What can potential applicants be doing now?
Cath White, Exeter City Council with Mark Shepherd, Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board.

Rugby Empowering Employment Programme

Young people struggling to find work have the chance to boost their job prospects thanks to a Rugby World Cup 2015 inspired project set up by the Exeter and the Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board together with Exeter City Council.

Launched at Sandy Park in December with Exeter Chiefs’ stars, the pilot programme uses sporting values of preparation, commitment, hard work, skill and collaboration, to inspire 16–24 year olds. 

The aim of the Rugby Empowering Employment Programme (REEP) is to give new life skills and confidence to help people progress into the workplace, an apprenticeship or further training.

The programme begins with a full-time two week intensive programme followed by weekly support from specially trained volunteer mentors.  This takes place over several months through their transition to employment, education or training.

Working with Motiv-8sw, Jobcentre Plus, Active Devon, Exeter Chiefs, Exeter City Football Club, Parkwood Leisure, Careers South West, Exeter Saracens and St Loye’s Foundation, the City Council and Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board are working with young people aged 16-24 who are currently out of work or in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance.

Devon-based leadership and team development experts Sampson Hall have led similar initiatives in other parts of the UK and will be running the programme in partnership with Motiv-8sw.

Mark Shepherd, Chair for the Exeter and the Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board, said: “Improving the skills and employment opportunities of all our young people in and around Exeter is a priority for the Employment and Skills Board. This project is an exciting opportunity for the young people involved and for the partners who have been working together to make it possible.”

To find out more please contact Oenone Thomas.

Customer Service Training pilot a success

As reported in the October edition of the Skills Newsletter, the Exeter and Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board has been running a free one-day Rugby World Cup Hospitality Training course for 160 participants at Sandy Park in Exeter.

So far the pilot course has trained 51 people and has received positive feedback. The course equips participants with world class customer service skills, who also have the chance to gain a Level 2 award in the Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality.

The course is filling up fast and many of the remaining sessions are fully subscribed.  A few places remain but people are advised to book quickly to secure a space.

The project has been funded through the Local Response Fund (a total of £377,000 of European Social Fund money). The aim of the Fund is to address LEP skills priorities and is ring fenced for projects that answer identified skills needs across the area.

To find out more and book your place, please download the flyer or email Helen Jones.

Copyright © 2015 Heart of the South West LEP People Group, All rights reserved.

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