WNF projects BEDP

Be Birmingham's WNF in actionWNF was structured to distinctly target worklessness with a large proportion of the funding allocated specifically to support the LAA delivery plan for worklessness, which was being delivered by the Birmingham Economic Development Partnership.

The main outcome of the programme was to reduce worklessness in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods by working towards closing the gap between those areas with the highest unemployment and the city average Super Output Area’s that had over 25% unemployment or in the highest 5% for deprivation nationally.

As part of the commitment to enlist full partnership support and ensure broader issues are targeted holistically, the remaining WNF was allocated to support the delivery of a range of outcomes for the LAA overall.

There were a number of WNF projects that aimed to reduce unemployment and improve skills and enterprise for the people of Birmingham.

Project Summary
Targeted discretionary housing payment Support the transition from benefits to work by providing additional Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit for the first 12 weeks of a work starter’s employment
Debt and financial Inclusion Improve access to advice on debt and benefits and maximising the impact of all agencies involved in financial inclusion in the city
Enhanced English language skills / language support Offer support by addressing gaps in current provision
Prolific & Priority Offenders Employment support for prolific offenders, with improved client engagement to support them into sustained employment and reduce re-offending
Workwise Address key barriers to work by supporting the transport needs of the hardest to reach clients providing vital extra pre and post employment support
Customised Access Training & Employment Capture employment opportunities and deliver a range of bespoke training programmes with partners to increase employability skills and move people off benefits into work
Public Sector Skills Challenge – Pre-Apprentice Academy The apprentice academy’s one-year pilot to delivered 50 apprenticeships in a range of skill shortage areas
Town Centre Managers Supported 10 town centre manager posts across Birmingham, providing vitality support for local centres, crucial to the local economy, support local businesses and capture local employment opportunities
Local Provider Forums Facilitate local provider forums and support Constituency Strategic Partnerships in the commissioning and monitoring of performance of locally commissioned interventions
Innovations Fund The Innovations Fund provided small grants to fund pilot projects, and feasibility/research studies, to test new approaches and interventions, to support continuous service improvement. The project supported evidence based learning to inform future service design and delivery.
Client Tracking System To provide a client tracking system for WNF projects to enable assessment of impact
Transitional Funding Transitional funding to voluntary sector providers to retain their capacity to deliver employment support activity
Strategically commissioned/locally delivered interventions Address actions identified in the Neighbourhood and Constituency Employment and Skills Plans (NESPS&CESPs) delivering locally commissioned interventions on worklessness.
Improving Health, Increasing Employment Made links between ill health, health inequalities and worklessness
Addressing Worklessness with Homeless Service Users Provided enhanced specialist support for homeless people to assist them moving to employment
Engaging with Workless Displaced Communities Specialist employment support with information, advice and guidance to help refugees and economic migrants access appropriate and sustainable employment
BEDP Graduates Enterprise Employment requested Increased the number of new business start ups and supported the retention of graduates in the region. These activities will be delivered through the three main universities: Birmingham, BCU and Aston.
BEDP Entrepreneurs for the Future Establish an “Entrepreneurs of the Future Centre”, a dedicated fully supported unit providing all necessary mentoring, support services and infrastructure, including ICT requirements to promote the establishment of new high-tech ventures with high growth potential.
BEDP Stimulating Demand for Business Support Provided a comprehensive package of support for the development, survival, consolidation and growth of businesses within all AWM clusters in the Birmingham area. The aim was to stimulate enterprise, develop new market opportunities, encourage investment, foster survival/consolidation, create new jobs, safeguard existing jobs and facilitate growth.
BEDP Local Communities, Higher Skills offered
The project sought to drive up level 4 attainment in private sector businesses across Birmingham by;
·       Supporting development and accreditation of flexibly delivered modular provision building on employer’s in-house training.
·       Introducing HE in FE graduates into the graduate advantage programme

Encourage SME employers to choose more accredited provision within the parameters of the Director Development Programme.

BEDP StimulatingEnterprise through Coaching Enterprise Coaches worked within deprived and under-represented communities to target and find people who had the potential to start their own business. The project equip those individuals who were identified as having the potential for self employment with the confidence and skills required to access mainstream business support, or other suitable progression routes that exist within the city into economic activity.
BEDP Stimulating Innovation Stimulating Innovation focuses on two distinct activities to support Birmingham based businesses to undertake profitable change through innovation: employment of “Innovation Brokers”, reaching out to a greater number of businesses to stimulate interest in innovation for businesses; and providing enhanced support to a greater number of Birmingham based businesses than would be able to access support through the innovation advisory service.
BEDP Data Gathering and Impact Evaluation Research, data gathering and impact evaluation.
Engaging Drug & Alcohol Treatment Service Users Specialist employment support to be delivered alongside treatment services for people recovering from substance abuse
Public Sector Skills Challenge – Graduate Internships Support to develop further apprenticeship opportunities across public sector agencies
Jobs and Skills Development Using Public Procurement Work on a local, regional and national basis to identify and develop best practice in relation to the use of public procurement to secure jobs and skills development opportunities for priority groups as a vehicle to address the worklessness agenda.

There are also a package of programmes to help businesses and residents cope with the impact of the recession.

Project Summary
Retail Development Programme The project buildt upon a successful pilot which has extended support to all local centres in Birmingham with the aim to sustain vibrant local centres
Loans to SMEs Help small and medium sized enterprises to obtain loans to create and safeguard jobs
finditinbirmingham Create a procurement web based portal to keep local business informed of bidding and contract opportunities across the region
Support on business rates Help Small and Medium sized Enterprises with the payment of business rates by providing formal business rates relief
Redundancy support to staff working in big companies Provide practical advice by bringing together the expertise of a range of organisations in providing a sharp focus through a one stop shop access point for companies and communities
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