South East

ESF in the South East of England supports labour market development and welfare to work in an area less seriously affected by the downturn than many others. Rising unemployment and redundancies have had an impact, but in the South East, poverty and deprivation tends to be concentrated in more areas such as the traditional seaside resorts, Medway Towns and isolated rural areas.

These labour markets tend to be disproportionately reliant on public sector employment, and with many of them poorly served by transport, will pose challenges for employment growth and labour mobility. ESF funding in the South East supports projects from providers including:

  • Routeways to Employment in Medway
  • The Shaw Trust in Whitstable
  • Finding Futures and Headstart2Work which support young people in these areas who are NEET or at risk, back into school, learning or work
  • DV8 offers experience in creative arts for young people in Brighton who are NEET.
Bristol City, UK
However, the resilience of the South East is evidenced by Brighton’s continued growth as an economic centre strong in creative industries (notwithstanding its pockets of pervasive deprivation), the relative wealth of the commuter belt around London, and the growth of new sectors. Providers such as Prevista have offered specialist support in the South East for business start-ups, entrepreneurs and self-employment training, through their project SOS. ESF in the South East until 2013 will be dominated by Jobcentre Plus and the Skills Funding Agency’s new programmes, with SEEDA co-financing ending its ESF role during 2011. NOMS will continue to deliver offender related provision in the area, while the ITM programme includes projects working with the community in the highly challenged port of Newhaven; with older workers in Milton Keynes, and on climate change in Medway. ESF’s role in developing new skills and improving the skills base of the economy is illustrated in reports on Gateway to SusCon, which is helping to transform the construction industry for the low carbon age, and New Futures Professional Development Network South East, which delivers training for trainers and tutors and increases the numbers of participants in Skills for Life programmes.