Building Better Opportunities
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.
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 partnership of ten 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.
For more information about this project, please visit The National Lottery Community Fund’s Building Better Opportunities page.
Geography of delivery
The project will be delivered across the whole of SEMLEP, in each of its eleven local authority areas. These are:
- Bedford Borough
- Central Bedfordshire
- Milton Keynes
- South Northamptonshire
The delivery partners have been chosen that are based in, or work closely with, the local communities in each area.
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'll be given IT training and support for the new digital age
- those with caring responsibilities will be given help and 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.
Additional funding means that this project will continue to run until 31 March 2023. So far, we have already supported:
- 335 people into education or training
- 401 unemployed people into employment
- 338 people who were economically inactive at the start of the programme into employment, including self-employment, or job search
Note: These figures were last updated in February 2023.
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
- increased in confidence and possibly skills
- had their level of aspiration raised.
Information from each of the delivery partners can be found below:
Find out more information on the Autism Bedfordshire (Luton and Bedfordshire) website
Autism Bedfordshire’s 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.
Find out more information on the Diverse FM (Luton and Bedfordshire) website
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.
Find out more information on the Empowering Education (Luton and Bedfordshire) website
Empowering Education are a community-based organisation aimed at supporting those who need assistance in education and lifelong skills. We empower learning for isolated and deprived communities In Luton, Rochdale, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, London and Buckinghamshire, and we hope to extend our services nationally!
Find out more information on the Evolve (Northamptonshire) website
We are a membership based Community Benefit Society with a mission to establish Wolverton as a thriving and sustainable town within the city of Milton Keynes. We do this by enabling an active and involved community to protect and celebrate the unique heritage of the Town, whilst developing new business, housing and community facilities to ensure future prosperity.
Find out more information on the Future Wolverton (Milton Keynes) website
Evolve your Future is an established single entity organisation that has successfully delivered careers advice, guidance and training services to over 30,000 customers.
Find out more information on the Luton Adult Learning (Luton and Bedfordshire) website
Luton Adult Learning aim to make all learning accessible and relevant while being an enjoyable and stimulating experience for all of Luton's citizens, communities and employers.
We offer a range of online and face-to-face courses and even offer a personalised series of workshops for individuals to gain learning, guidance and support to get them back on track for a positive future, kick-starting their pathway into employment.
Find out more information on the Talkback (Milton Keynes) website
Our goal is to help autistic people and people with a learning disability embrace new opportunities, so they can lead the fulfilling lives they want and actively contribute to their community.
We strive to create an inclusive, professional setting. One that steers and challenges mainstream thinking when it comes to disability and autism. We work with people and many different groups to do this, always with the sole purpose of making the lives of autistic individuals and those with a learning disability better. Because we believe they deserve it.