Tackling youth unemployment and helping people into work and develop their skills is at the centre of the programme.
The councils have launched the Bedfordshire ESF Co-financing Prospectus which outlines the programme’s activities and targets. The prospectus defines where the councils want the activities to take place along with who should benefit from the projects.
A tender process has begun to find providers for these services between 2011 and 2013. The services include:
- Supporting young people to remain in education and training;
- Community employment support;
- Work limiting illness support;
- Enterprise coaching;
- Higher level skills for growth.
Central Bedfordshire Council’s portfolio holder for economic growth and regeneration Cllr Ken Matthews said: "Economic growth and realising the full economic potential of the area is at the heart of the Sustainable Community Strategies for both councils and we have a perfect opportunity to use ESF for the benefit of communities across Bedfordshire.
"It is essential that we make extremely good use of this funding and I would encourage any organisation that feels they can make a positive contribution to the development and further growth of the local economy to get in contact and submit their tender."
Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson (pictured) said: "At a time when we are working hard to find greater efficiencies and save local taxpayers’ money it is important we are also working hard to maximise other funding opportunities available.
"This European-funded programme will help hundreds of local residents to develop better skills and improve their access to better jobs. It will help develop skills for businesses to grow and support entrepreneurship locally."
The deadline for submitting tenders is noon on May 13. To find out more information about the tender process visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/esf or contact Mike Colsell, ESF Co-financing Manager, on 0300 300 6194.