Opportunities for the economically inactive participants – Luton and Bedfordshire

n Employment Support Programme in the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership Area. This programme is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

An Employment Support Programme in the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership Area. This programme is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

Programme aim

The purpose of the Programme is to support unemployed or economically inactive participants to overcome barriers and move into, or closer to, paid employment or education and training. The programme is being delivered by a consortium led by Luton Council, with a Voluntary and Community Sector infrastructure organisation and a partnership of fifteen delivery partners from across South East Midlands Local Partnership (SEMLEP).

This programme  will tackle worklessness to raise the aspirations of people and communities, and support participants to:

  • overcome barriers
  • increase in confidence 
  • move into, or nearer to, paid employment

It will promote social inclusion by working with local providers who are in contact with local employers, and who work with some of the hardest to reach communities.

Delivery method

The project will provide support for some of the most disadvantaged people, often with multiple and complex needs. They are:

  • Young people (15 to 24) will be supported into education, training or apprenticeships to help set them on their chosen career path
  • BME and migrant workers will be given support with English language skills, to convert existing qualifications, and to gain knowledge of the British employment market
  • Older workers will be advised on the best use of transferable skills and the changing job market. They will be given IT training and support for the new digital age
  • Those with caring responsibilities will be given help & guidance on how best to combine paid work and caring duties. Support for child or elder care will be provided during support sessions where needed
  • Adults with mental health issues or learning difficulties will be supported to find employment that suits their capabilities and caters for their health needs
  • Adults with physical health issues will be guided to think in terms of abilities not disabilities and find employment that suits their capabilities while accommodating their physical health needs
  • Ex-offenders and those with a criminal background can find it difficult to find employers who will offer them an opportunity. They will be helped to identify employment with suitable employers

Although the support provided through this project is aimed at individuals, the outcomes of the activities will be much wider. If a parent is in sustainable employment, this will offer a good role model for children and the whole family should be better off financially. If a member of a migrant community moves into employment, they should gain a better understanding of British society and this should have a positive impact on social inclusion in their neighbourhood.

Programme outcomes

The programme will help 1054 people over the lifetime of the project. Of those:

  • 138 people will be helped in to employment
  • 138 in to training
  • 142 people who were economically inactive at the start of the programme will be helped to move closer to the job market.

In addition to these results, there will be many other “soft” outcomes. For example, those not finding employment during the project delivery timescales will have gained a better understanding of the employment market, will have increased in confidence and possibly skills and have had their level of aspiration raised. Through the involvement of local delivery VCS organisations, the local community should be strengthened and become more cohesive. Families and individuals will benefit from increased prosperity. Local employers will be encouraged to identify and address skills needs and recruit more locally.

Delivery partners – Luton and Bedfordshire

Autism Beds / Autism Beds

Our employment support is designed for adults with high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome who are looking to enter the employment market within the next 18 months. The programme is designed to fit around the individuals strengths, needs and aspirations to ensure every person who enters the programme is not only closer to the job market but more confident and independent when they leave it.

We can provide 1:1 support, access to our job clubs in Bedford and Dunstable and skill development if needed. Spaces are extremely limited so if you think you might be interested in this service then speak to one of your group leaders or contact the office.

Reactiv8 / Reactiv8

We use British Military Coaching techniques coupled with a mind-set programme to help move our participants closer to the job market. The British Military Coaching techniques help develop team working, communication, co-operation, problem solving and many more employability skills employers are looking for.

Our mind-set programme challenges participants to think differently about themselves and their lives and to aspire to achieve more as well as the usual confidence and self-esteem building, self-belief etc.

Diverse FM Community Media and Training / Diverse FM

Diverse FM Community Media and Training offers a wide range of accredited, non-accredited and vocational courses, with a tailor made programme to meet individual needs. This includes IAG, 1-1 support and real life volunteering and work experience opportunities.

We have a team of up to level 6 qualified IAG workers, and access to innovative and attractive programmes including:

  • radio broadcasting
  • music and video production
  • drugs and alcohol awareness activities

Our resources include two dedicated training rooms with modern teaching resources, two music/video production and two radio broadcast studios with latest state of the art equipment and software.


NOAH works with some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in our society, and specifically in relation to the BBO project with those experiencing barriers to finding work. Through our award winning Welfare Centre and Academy this project seeks to work with migrants experiencing multiple barriers to work and specifically language.

Our programme provides 1:1 support and mentoring and tailored employment language training by qualified ESOL tutors focused on moving people closer to work, this is combined, where appropriate, with specific vocational training in our social enterprise where candidates learn new skills and English language relevant to the vocational areas in which they are seeking work.


Our support into employment project offers a specialist tailored package to unemployed adults facing mental health problems (or carers living in Milton Keynes or Cherwell) by addressing and tackling some of the issues faced when thinking about work. A dedicated adviser from Mind BLMK will provide support and guidance during the duration of the programme. Depending on need support may include:

  • workshops
  • training
  • 1:1 support
  • signposting to appropriate organisations
  • career planning, job readiness, interview skills, Universal Job Match

The Disability Resource Centre

Disability Resource Centre offer unique services providing 1-2-1 support and group workshops. Support combines development of personal, social and employability skills. Services are designed with a mind, body and soul approach, giving individuals the skills to look within and tap into their own internal resources. By giving guidance and direction to bring wellbeing to the forefront and to prioritise emotional needs we can create a ripple effect, boosting confidence and moving participants closer to employment opportunities.

Polish British Integration Centre / Polish British Integration Centre Autism Beds

The Polish British Integration Centre was set up in 2007 to support the needs of newly arriving migrants to the UK. We deliver a number of free services to our clients with the aim of supporting integration of migrant workers into British Society. Under the Building Better Opportunities project, we support unemployed and inactive individuals with progression into employment through the following services:

  • Careers advice (CV writing, job search, interview skills, courses)
  • English Language Courses and Workshops (ESOL, IT, Employability Skills etc.)
  • Volunteering engagement
  • General advice (housing, benefits, employment law)

We provide these services through 1:1 support and group sessions. Our advice and teaching is delivered by bilingual advisors and tutors. Many migrants have confidence and language barriers to accessing local services, therefore, apart from delivering our services we often act as an intermediary connecting those in need with the help and support available to them.

Princes Trust / Princes Trust

The Prince’s Trust is one of the 38 partners delivering the £5m Support Into Employment project in SEMLEP area. The project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund, aims to tackle worklessness to raise the aspirations of people and communities, and support participants to overcome barriers, increase in confidence and move into, or nearer to paid employment.


Centre for Youth and Community Development is excited about working on the Building Better Opportunities Project. We are targeting local women from BME communities who face multiple barriers to gaining employment or progressing into accredited learning because of poor English language skills, low confidence and not having previously worked before.

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