European fund boost

Barrie Grunewald
Barrie Grunewald
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More than 2,000 St Helens residents are to benefit from European-funded schemes designed to help them into work, education and training.

Around £3.3 million from the European Social Fund and the European Union’s Youth Employment Initiative will be used to help people struggling to find employment and training opportunities. The aim is to help at least 800 find work.

St Helens Council will also be adding its own support by helping to deliver many of the programmes – starting next month (April) and running until 2018.

There will be employment support, training and work based placements for unemployed residents as well as initiatives to specifically support youn people leaving care, and other vulnerable groups.

It will also give assistance to people who work low hours to help them out of poverty - with figures showing that more than half of all child poverty is suffered among families who are in employment.

The new funding is part of a £42 million package secured by the Liverpool City Region for its ‘Ways to Work’ programme, which will be used to support adults and young people aged over 16.

St Helens Council Leader Barrie Grunewald said: “The new funding follows a successful city region bid – and will go a long way towards breaking down the barriers that prevent too many of our residents accessing training and employment opportunities.

“There are still too many people – not just in St Helens, but across the city region – who do not have the skills or qualifications that employers need. We’ve already done a lot of work in this area but more is needed – and this valuable European funding will help us to make a real difference – by identifying and helping those in need.”

The programme will be delivered by each of the six local authorities in the Liverpool City Region – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, in partnership with public transport body Merseytravel.