NLDC is a £20 million national fund made available though the Skills Funding Agency as part of their Adult Safeguarded Learning provision.
The overall aim of NLDC funding is to support the local voluntary and community sector by developing the capacity of organisations to deliver learning opportunities to residents of the disadvantaged neighbourhoods and communities of Bedfordshire and Luton.
The Learning Partnership has managed the funding allocation for Bedfordshire and Luton since 2005 and we have seen it support a wide range of neighbourhood and community based projects that would not have been possible otherwise.
Whilst NLDC funding allows for a variety of project activities to take place, there are certain priorities that the Skills Funding Agency seeks to meet. These priorities include:
- Seeking out and building the delivery of learning capacity of new and existing providers
- The engagement of workless, low skilled adults in activities aimed at progressing them closer to gaining sustained employment
- The engagement of adults classed as ‘hard to reach’
- The promotion of partnership collaborations and close partnership working
- The encouragement of learners in their progression into further learning or employment – for many, NLDC funding may provide their first real opportunity for learning since leaving school
Within any year the funding allocation for NLDC is used to support a number of small projects, up to the value of £10,000 each.
Coordinator & Contact
T: 01234 840758
Partners on this Project
The following individual projects were supported with 2010/11 NLDC funding.
Marsh Farm Futures
JET – Jobs, Enterprise & Training
The aim of the JET project was to reduce worklessness and increase the economic participation for the adult residents of the Marsh Farm estate and wider surrounding community. The project primarily focussed on engaging with adults who were economically inactive and low skilled by offering a range of vocational/job related learning based on the needs and wants of the learners engaged. A wrap around IAG service was also provided to learners through a local Nextstep provider. All courses were delivered at Marsh Farm Futures House in the heart of the Marsh Farm community.
Outputs and Outcomes
The project delivered the following courses between January and July 2011:
- CIEH Level 2 award in food safety in Catering
- Emergency First Aid at work certificate
- CIEH Level 2 award in health and safety in the workplace
- Level 2 Award in Door Supervision
- CSCS Smartcard
- Forklift truck and counterbalance driving.
- 34 learners enrolled across the range of delivered courses
- 23 individual learners enrolled with some completing more than one course
- Of the 34 enrolments 32 fully completed and passed their course(s)
- 32 accredited certificates were awarded to 21 individual learners.
Way 2 Work
The Bedford Foyer film project was designed to offer young adults, over the age of 19, the opportunity to gain employability skills through new media. The project was predominantly aimed at residents of the Foyer and other local hostels for homeless young people from within the most deprived areas of Bedford. The aim was to give young people the ‘soft skills’ to improve their confidence when looking for and applying for jobs. The focus was on enhancing skills such as project development and management, public speaking, literacy and communication, team work and using initiative through a flexibly delivered programme based around the planning and production of a short film.
Learners had the chance to get involved with all aspects involved in the making of a film including script writing, acting, filming and the use of technical equipment, editing and sound production. Learners were responsible for deciding the theme of the film and were encouraged to address issues that were close to them – they decided upon a film that parodied the under representation of young peoples voices in local politics.
Bedford Foyer worked with a professional actress and scriptwriter on the project to give the learners a real insight into professional film making. The learners also had the opportunity to go on a field trip to see the filming of the X Factor auditions.
To reduce barriers to learning the programme was delivered in a ‘roll on roll off ‘ style with learners aiming to complete a minimum of 24 hours of learning over the 6 months of the project. This is one of the aspects that made the project work well as many of the target group cannot cope with a formal learning structure.
Outputs and Outcomes
- 12 learners engaged onto the project
- 9 learner s completed 24 hours or more of learning on the project
- All learners have reported an increase in self esteem and confidence
- 1 learner has since progressed onto a full time apprenticeship
- 1 learner has gained employment
- 2 learners have started part time training courses with a local provider
- 1 learner is now ready to start job hunting and has expressed an interest in helping out at Bedford Foyer with any future projects.
Young people from different hostels had the chance to work together , encourage community cohesion for the longer term.
One learner who barely had the confidence to speak in a group setting before the project started has progressed in his confidence so much that he was able to stand up and speak at the NLDC celebration event in front of over 40 people.
Some of the learners have been greatly encouraged by what they have achieved on the project and are seeking employment in customer facing roles.
Voluntary and Community Action South Bedfordshire
Springboard for Women Returners
The ‘Springboard for women returners project’ was aimed at enabling women over the age of 19 to assess their skills, aspirations and life goals and to develop a personal action plan to take them on a pathway to achieving their aspirations which could of included options leading to paid work, further education and training, self employment and/or volunteering. Working with local partners the project targeted learners within the priority estates of Downside (Dunstable), Tithe Farm and Parkside (Houghton Regis). The project delivered two six-week courses for women interested in returning to work, engaging in learning, undertaking volunteering or become a community activist.
The first courses took place at Bedford Square Community Centre, Houghton Regis in March and April 2011 and the second at Downside Neighbourhood Centre, Dunstable in May and June 2011.
Each course ran one day a week for 6 weeks during school hours and delivered 30 hours of group activity, discussion and one-to-one guidance. The course included:
- taking stock – identifying needs, skills and interests
- personal development – building communication and self confidence
- job search skills – preparing a CV, filling in application forms, interview skills
- local job and training information – guest speakers from Bedfordshire Adult Skills and Community Learning, Luton Rights and the Volunteer Centre all came along and visits were organised to Chiltern Business Training (Central Bedfordshire College) Kingsland Campus
- overcoming barriers – information on working tax credits, childcare support and support for learning
Sessions involved group work and discussion, practical exercises, role plays and one-to-one guidance and support. The programme was sufficiently flexible to enable group interests and individual needs to be accommodated.
On-site crèches were provided and learners’ travel expenses were met to help removes these as barriers to learning.
Identify and recruit 20 women who are not currently in employment who wished to return to work or improve their economic well-being.
Plan, design and deliver a course to support the learning of women wishing to return to work or improve their economic well-being.
Provide learners with pre-employment activity aimed at increasing their chances of gaining sustained employment.
The project was successful in targeting women from the priority estates, 50% of learners were from Tithe Farm and Downside.
It reached those most disadvantaged by low skills, lack of qualifications, health problems and disability. Seven women (29% of learners) were lone parents, several women had learning difficulties and five had been out of work for some time due to ill health or disability.
The project drew people of all ages (20s to 50s) and from very varied backgrounds and cultures including from the Sudan, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Zambia and Pakistan. For two of the women English was their second language.
Commitment and interest from participants was very high, especially so for the second course where all 12 women completed the 6 weeks and the attendance rate was 96%.
All participants felt that they gained a great deal from the courses in terms of increased confidence, motivation and knowledge. Many of the women are now actively looking for work and three are awaiting the outcome of recent job interviews. One disabled participant who is unable to ‘go out’ to work is in the process of setting up a business from home repairing computer games consoles. A number of women are planning to take up voluntary work in their local communities and several have already found placements, one in a special needs school and another helping out in a charity shop.
For some, the course provided the opportunity to reflect on a new career direction. Penne, a participant from the first course was invited to help run the second course. This proved to be very beneficial for all concerned. Penne brought her insights and knowledge as a woman returner and in return gained experience and confidence from her tutor support role. With funding from NLDC she has now been able to enrol on a PTLL’s course starting in October.
Following the courses, a number of women have already taken up opportunities to learn new skills. Several have attended IT workshops at Chiltern Business Training or enrolled for basic skills training. Others plan to gain qualifications in subjects ranging from GCSEs, NVQ in catering, floristry, business management, creative arts, child development, counselling and plastering. Some have also taken advantage of IAG services provided by Bedfordshire Adult Skills and Community Learning and have gained careers guidance and further help with CVs and application forms.
Soft outcomes measurement has shown that the biggest impact has been to raise aspirations, self esteem and confidence, help clarify career direction and increase knowledge of sources of advice and guidance.
Comments from participants include:
“Gave me the courage to start to bring about changes in my life”; “Helped me realise there is much more I’m capable of”; “I gained skills in CV writing and enjoyed meeting new people”
Recent changes to the benefits system means that lone parents must actively seek work when their youngest child reaches seven. Most of the lone parents on the course were facing this challenge and found the course helpful in alleviating some of their concerns about balancing paid work with responsibilities for the care of children.
One of the most valuable aspects of the project has been the social interaction and the friendships that have formed. A group of women from one of the courses has continued to meet weekly to maintain the impetus that the course has given them and to carry on giving each other support and encouragement.
Lewsey Farm Learning Centre
Getting to Yes
The aim of the ‘Getting to yes’ project’ was to encourage individuals, working below their potential, to up skill and move closer to the labour market by providing them with personal and career development, guidance and support.The project addressed the “employment support needs” of long term unemployed persons (12 months or more), particularly those living in Lewsey ward and surrounding areas.
The project has engaged with workless, low skilled adults and provided an accredited training, employability and business development skills, which are aimed at increasing their chances of gaining sustained employment. Barriers to accessing training, personal low self esteem and motivation are all underlying problems faced by unemployed people.
The project delivered a number of courses and engaged with 53 learners in total.
The main focus of the programme was the delivery of the NCFE level 2 award in employability skills which enrolled 30 learners over 3 cohorts from November 2010 to March 2011. Of the 30 learners engaged 20 achieved the full course and a further 7 learners attended over half of the programme.
Delivered in partnership with Dupigny Training, the sessions comprised of using action learning exercises, role-play, discussions about work environment and practice problems, developmental group work and individual coaching in a challenging environment where delegates could work on themselves and construct and implement personal action plans.
Individual one to one coaching sessions were offered to each learner and the course also incorporated work taster placements with local organisations such as Luton Rights, the Refugee Council and Nyabingi. Presentations were also given at some of the sessions by various organisations including Barclays Bank, Business Link and Luton Activ. Access 2 Associated also generously contributed a stress management session for some of the learners.
The level 2 course enabled participants to know what their goals are, what skills they have, how to make a good impression and how to make it work for them whilst all the time developing their literacy skills.
Of the 20 learners who achieved the level 2 course 7 progressed onto the NCFE level 3 Career Development course, also delivered as part of the project. This course allowed learners to evaluate where they were within their current position, how to set targets via action planning and achieve their goals. The programme increased learners levels of motivation by identifying career drivers and the discovery of latent and potential talents as well as turning barriers into positive attributes.
In addition to the above 2 programmes the project also delivered a CIEH level 2 certificate in food safety in catering to 11 learners, 10 of which successfully passed the exam and were awarded a certificate and a one day CV writing and interview techniques workshop attended by 7 learners.
Outputs and Outcomes
- 48 learners engaged onto one or more courses – 55 enrolments in total
- 46 of the 55 enrolments completed courses (84%)
- 10 learners were awarded an accredited CIEH Level 2 Award in food safety in catering
- 20 learners completed the Level 2 Employability Skills course
- 7 learners completed the Level 3 Career Development course
- 4 learners have secured employment
- 3 learners have started their own business as a result of the programme.
All learners reported that they now have:
- A Better understanding of their personal style and strengths
- Developed their confidence to take strategic steps to make changes in their life
- An understanding of where to get support for personal issues
- Increased self-esteem and self confidence.
The programme has allowed Lewsey Farm Learning Centre to fulfil one of its primary objectives of being able to offer training to the residents of Lewsey Farm. It increased the number of training sessions available and encouraged individuals in and around the Lewsey area to access this training, which would otherwise they would not have been able to access, which is particularly important in the current economic climate.
Community Resettlement Support Project
The aim of the Fresh Start project was to recruit and train new and existing volunteers to provide befriending support to ex offenders being released into the community.The objectives of the project were to:
- recruit 6 ex-offenders (former CRSP clients) and 10 other people from faith communities in Bedford and Luton to become new volunteers with CRSP.
- provide a robust and comprehensive training programme for the volunteers to ensure they have the skills and confidence necessary to provide a high quality and effective support service to offenders on release from prison.
- provide additional training to a further 10 existing volunteers to gain additional and specific skills to support offenders in the community to reduce barriers and increase motivation to gain employment or access vocational training in the community.
- provide volunteers and clients with IAG through NextStep and an individual learning plan with learning objectives as part of encouraging skills development and progression.
- engage with 40 offenders, as they leave HMP Bedford and resettle in the community, supporting each offender with befriending support from the newly trained volunteers, to enable them to achieve the goals set out in their action plan.
The recruitment and training of the volunteers took place between October and December 2010. The training programme for new volunteers delivered 25 hours of learning over 5 sessions and gave them the skills necessary to provide a high quality and effective support service to the offenders on release from HMP Bedford. All volunteers, both new and existing also undertook an additional “Reducing barriers to employment” workshop.
The 26 trained volunteers aimed to provide regular, at least weekly, befriending and support to 40 offenders from HMP Bedford released into the community between January and June 2011 to enable them to overcome the barriers they face to gaining skills and employment.
The volunteers received regular supervision and support to enable them to fulfil their role and help offenders in the community achieve their SMART goals. The 6 volunteers who were ex-offenders received additional weekly support to help them address any issues which arose from the training and befriending of other ex-offenders.
Outputs and Outcomes
- 16 new volunteers, including 6 ex-offenders, were recruited and completed the volunteer training programme
- 10 existing volunteers completed additional training focussed on reducing clients barriers to employment and learning
- 54 offenders were recruited onto the project, each received an initial assessment resulting in a Resettlement Action Plan with SMART goals
- All volunteers and offenders received IAG through NextStep provision
- Of the offenders engaged:
- 9 gained employment
- 15 went into volunteering
- 6 progressed into further learning.
Of the ex-offenders befriended on the project:
- 100% agreed that they were more confident about accessing services they needed
- 100% agreed that they had the confidence they needed to access appropriate healthcare in the community
- 60% agreed that they were more likely to gain employment as a result of the support from CRSP
- 40% said they were more likely to take up volunteering
- 80% said they were less likely to re-offend because of the support from CRSP; 20% were not sure
Of the volunteers engaged:
- 78% of volunteers felt their confidence had increased because of the training they had undertaken.
Centre for Youth and Community Development
Women into Learning
The ‘women into learning project’, delivered by the CYCD, was designed to deliver a variety of learning/course taster sessions, in partnership with Barnfield College, to women, predominantly from ethnic minority groups and in particular living within the Biscot Ward of Luton.The core aim of the project was to develop an opportunity for BME women to access learning opportunities and develop skills to become economically active.
The key objectives of the project were to:
- Provide learning/course taster sessions
- Provide careers advice and guidance
- Provide advice on welfare benefits
- Raise awareness of learning opportunities leading to attaining qualifications
- Develop confidence and motivation to become economically productive
- Develop a database of local qualified tutors and support staff
- Develop training and employment support provision at project partner Bangladeshi Youth League.
In total the project delivered seven taster sessions between February and April 2011 .The taster sessions were run over a whole day starting at 9.30 and finished at 3pm. The chosen subjects for the taster sessions were childcare, learner/teaching support assistant, (both run twice due to popularity), sewing, beauty and holistic therapy and hairdressing. Participants could choose to take part in up to two taster sessions each. A Crèche was made available for all of the sessions to maximise the opportunity for the people to attend.
The project also engaged with the EP Luton Workability Champion who provided d advice and guidance to the learners.
Outputs and Outcomes
- 7 learning taster sessions were delivered
- 67 individual female learners attend at least one taster session each – this is an overachievement against the original target by 34%.
The project attracted women from a variety of ethnic minority groups including Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Somalian, Indian and Caucasian.
This project gave women from the local community a chance to explore their interest in going back into education. For some of the participant’s it has opened new doors and allowed them to understand whether further education is the step they wanted to take.
The Future Aspirations project was designed to deliver a pre entry training course for women aged 19+ with the overall aim to improve their employment prospects and self confidence.The course was delivered at the Family Groups training centre in Cauldwell, Bedford for one day a week over a 10 week period.
The course was based on the skills needed to support the learners knowledge, skills and confidence to promote maximum success in their job search and interviews. Sessions covering communication, customer service, conflict management, presentation skills, interview skills, team building and CV writing were delivered and learners also had the opportunity to undertake the First Aid in the Workplace certificate. In addition learners were supported with one to one IAG through a local Nextstep advisor.
To maximise the success of the project the course was run during school hours and a fully subsidised crèche service for pre school children was provided.
Outputs and Outcomes
- 12 female learners living in Bedford from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, enrolled onto the course
- All 12 learners completed the course
- 7 learners successfully passed the Emergency First Aid at Work certificate
- 11 of the learners have expressed that would like to attend further training courses
- During the course 1 learner gained employment
- 8 learners now have an up to date CV.
All of the learners on the course have reported that they have improved their skills and knowledge as a result of attending. 3 participants are actively seeking employment and 4 are sourcing volunteering opportunities.
Foxdell Children’s Centre
Security Industry Authority Registration
The aim of the project at Foxdell was to engage with hard to reach fathers/male carers, to equip them with a recognised qualification that could lead directly to employment, helping to reduce local levels of unemployment, have a positive impact on the level of health inequalities within the area and increase the confidence, motivation and employability of local males.The project offered 12 fathers/male carers, from the deprived ward of Dallow (and from the wider Luton area) the opportunity to undertake Door Supervisory security training.
2 cohorts of the training were delivered, in partnership with Platinum Security, taking place in January and May 2011. Each learner undertook a pre course assessment to ensure that the course was right for them and this was followed with 4 days of security industry and door supervisory training.
As wrap around support IAG, through a local Next Step provider, was offered and a CV writing workshop to support learners job search skills was provided. An emergency first aid course was also delivered to the same learners as part of the project.
Outputs and Outcomes:
- 12 learners completed the course with 11 successfully achieving a certificate for 3 unit credits from the awarding body, EDI – an achievement rate of 92%
- 11 learners can now go on to register with SIA for their licence to practice
- 5 learners have a CV after completing the CV writing workshop
- 6 of the learners passed an Emergency First Aid certificate.
The candidates who successfully completed the training will be able to seek employment opportunities once they are in receipt of their license which is valid for three years.
Verbal feedback also highlighted that individuals attending the course have increased level of confidence. This will have a positive effect on the learners family and the local economy with more people now being able to take up employment.