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£5.3 million funding for the Highlands and Islands

20 February 2012

Issued by the Scottish Government

Fifteen projects designed to boost economic growth and create jobs will receive a share of funding worth £5.3 million, Alex Neil announced today.

The projects across the region will focus on supporting people who are finding it hardest to get jobs, those most effected by the current economic challenges and those at risk of redundancy.

Welcoming the funding, Mr Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, said:

"As always, we are focusing on supporting jobs and boosting the economy. This money will make a real difference across the Highlands and Islands - getting people back into work and helping revitalise local communities.

"This round of funding is testament to the high standard of projects and programmes in the Highlands and Islands dedicated to driving economic growth. The diversity of the projects receiving grant reflects the variety of innovative and creative industries synonymous with the Highlands and Islands.

"In the face of increasingly tough competition to attract European funding, this represents a welcome addition, providing stability for some programmes and a new footing for others.

"Each project in its own way will contribute to developing a skilled workforce adding economic value and much needed jobs in the Highlands & Islands, as well as contributing to the Scottish economy as a whole."

Projects receiving funding include:

  • New Start Highland (£975,288) - Aspire, Transform, Achieve, a project aimed at individuals facing multiple barriers to employment in Inverness, Invergordon and Lochaber. A team of trainers, coaches and support services will deliver training modules covering job skills and life skills to 286 participants over three years. Each person will undergo a two week assessment and a bespoke programme is then developed and delivered. A job coach then works with them to support their move into employment and for up to six months once employed.
  • Moving on employment Project (£222,109) - Job crew approach to supported employment. This Shetland based project has been running successfully for the past two years with a 75% positive outcome rate to date. It aims to help people facing multiple barriers to employment by providing them with short term work projects throughout Shetland. People are assessed to understand their specific needs and circumstances and an action plan is formulated to help them overcome their barriers. People then have an opportunity to participate in a real life project. The project provides employer matching, hands on support to people whilst employed, education and training opportunities for as long as it is required - this may include the setting up and supervision of paid supported work placements. The project will support 100 people.
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (£99,400) - for a Harris Tweed Training and Development Programme, a project building on the ESF funded training and accreditation programme for the Harris Tweed industry and it will run two additional New Start Weaver Training courses in 2012/13. This project will also introduce flexibility to accommodate trainees who cannot participate on a full time basis, in particular women, who are under represented in the industry. The demand for weavers is a result of demand for Harris Tweed particularly from women's fashion designers. Over the programme 126 individuals will be supported.

Archie Campbell, Chair of Sustainable Development at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said:

"Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is delighted that the European Structural Fund has continued to provide a significant part of the funding for the Harris Tweed Training Development Project.

"This is an important and extremely worthwhile project that has been developed in close liaison with the Harris Tweed industry. The project will deliver training to assist the industry to meet demand for the cloth, through activities including new weaver training and the piloting of technical skills qualifications in Harris Tweed mills.

"The Comhairle is happy to supply part of the funding for this course and is grateful to the European Structural Fund, as well as our other partner organisations, for the additional funding they provide to help deliver this forward-looking project for the revitalised Harris Tweed Industry."

Please see the full list below that includes the applicants name, the project title and the funding awarded: 

  • Moving On Employment Project - Job crew approach to supported employment - 222,109
  • Merkinch Enterprise - Information Technology Training for the Unemployed - 174,516
  • New Start Highland - Aspire, Transform, Achieve -  975,288
  • TAG Highland - Highland Health Board - TAG Highland "Closing the Gap" - 370,050
  • Apex Scotland - Apex Ascend - 515,133
  • Shirlie Project - Highland Supported Employment - 894,044
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise - Leadership for Growth - Highlands and Islands - 643,230
  • Scottish Federation of Meat Traders - Meating the Challenge - 118,119
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - Harris Tweed Training and Development Programme - 99,400
  • Voluntary Action in Badenoch and Strathspey - Community Enterprise Project - 213,149
  • Cairngorms Outdoors Access Trust - Access Skills Training Project - 279,393
  • Centre for Scottish Public Policy (CSPP) - CSPP Internship programme for Scottish Graduates - 195,054
  • The Highland Council - Deaf Communication Project Training Hub Initiative (THI) - 108,750
  • Young Musicians Hebrides - In Tune Training - 280,830
  • Uist Wool - CALANAS - Transforming Traditional Skills - 243,950




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