ESF partners gather at Gatwick
Story date: 8 July 2011
On Wednesday 29 June ESF Co-Financing Organisations hosted a Celebration and Planning event at the Sofitel Hotel, Gatwick. The aim of the day was two-fold:
- celebrating the achievements of South East ESF projects in the period 2008-2010; and
- looking ahead to adult and employer provision for the 2011-2013 funding period.
About 100 people attended the event, representing a wide range of ESF project providers in the South East. The Co-Financing Organisations, Jobcentre Plus and the Skills Funding Agency, were strongly represented.
The morning included presentations on progress to date and the future of ESF provision.
- Peter Stub Jorgensen (Director of ESF in the European Commission DG Employment) acknowledged the achievements to date of the UK ESF programmes, stating that at mid-point in the programme most targets had already been achieved. He also outlined the objectives of Europe 2020 and the relevance of these to future ESF activity.
- Peter Kennedy (ESF Contract Manager, DWP) focused on the achievements of local ESF partners so far and looked ahead to the focus for 2011-13.
- Mark Morrin (Research Consultant) presented the findings from the interim evaluation of the ESF programme in the South East.
In addition, there was the opportunity to learn first hand about achievements to date from a selection of providers and learners who spoke to attendees about their activities, experiences and successes. A number of inspirational case studies were heard – reminding everyone of the importance of the ESF programme and the impact local projects have on people’s lives.
The afternoon focused on the 2011-13 element of the current programme and explored how providers can work in partnership to deliver a coherent package of support for unemployed adults and employers. Delegates were split into geographically-based groups and took part in partnership related sessions to facilitate joint working and explore options for a coherent and successful learner journey. Discussion topics included:
- opportunities for stakeholders and participants;
- short, medium and long-term challenges of delivering the 2011-13 programme;
- identifying solutions to identified challenges; and
- lessons learnt from previous "Provision for the Unemployed" and "Response to Redundancy" projects.
Feedback from the partnership sessions included both challenges and potential solutions and discussion centred on the following three themes:
- the complexity of the delivery landscape
- local relationships
- technical and contractual issues.
- Presentations and documentation from the event and a more detailed summary of the feedback (South East ESF Co-Financing website)
The day was a success, with positive feedback from all attending. The following quotes are taken from evaluation forms:
"The workshops gave me the opportunity to meet and communicate with people I would not normally speak with, and identified integral issues to work on."
"The case studies were very uplifting and inspiring, and it was good to hear about the lessons learnt; very insightful in terms of the programme going forward."
- More information on the Gatwick event (South East ESF Co-Financing website)