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Cornwall Works WISE awards 2010
This year’s Cornwall Works WISE Awards winners range from a surfing Gulf War veteran to a crack team of graduates helping Cornwall businesses through the recession using new media and digital technologies and an organisation that has set up a marine academy for young people.
The 2010 Cornwall Works* WISE Awards - an annual celebration recognising excellence in employment and skills activity in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – have been praised by a Government minister. The awards also highlight the important role that the European Social Fund (at present through the ESF Convergence Programme) is playing in employment, skills and training and innovation across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The third Cornwall Works WISE awards ceremony - jointly organised by Jobcentre Plus, the Skills Funding Agency and the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly - took place today (Friday July 2nd) at the Headland Hotel, Newquay. Hosted by Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office, the awards’ keynote speakers were Wendy Violentano, Head of ESF Division and Andy Brelsford of Volunteer Cornwall.
Wendy said, “Many congratulations to all of the 2010 Cornwall Works WISE Award winners. Each and every one has a personal story which I have found inspiring and are all great examples of how investment in work and skills can change people’s lives. ESF Convergence is playing a key role in this.
“The European Social Fund was set up to improve employment opportunities across the European Union. It is a key delivery agent of Cohesion Policy that adds value to national and regional employment and skills initiatives and sits alongside and complements the activities of the European Regional Development Fund that is designed to boost business performance.
“ESF Convergence, working across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is supporting people into work, helping reduce inequality and create a fairer society and training people in work with the skills needed by businesses to compete in a modern and increasingly global economy.”
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office, said, “People are at the heart of economic regeneration and the building blocks of our economic recovery. Thousands of people across Cornwall and the isles of Scilly have better prospects today as we have supported personal and economic growth together including those that have received investment through the ESF Convergence programme.
‘The more people that can be helped into work and enhance their skills to meet the needs of business both today and tomorrow, the better position we will be in to take advantage of the opportunities of the economic recovery as it builds. The 2010 Cornwall Works WISE awards give us the chance to celebrate the people and organisations who have really made a difference through training and skills and are an inspiration to us all in shaping and reshaping our futures.”
Councillor Carolyn Rule, Cornwall Council cabinet member for economy and regeneration, added, “
“The Cornwall Works WISE awards give us the opportunity to celebrate the people and organisations that have made a difference to their own lives and to the lives of others, in fields of both employment and skills.
“Cornwall Council’s commitment to providing both the civic leadership and where appropriate the delivery of services across the work and skills agenda has never been stronger. We are in the process of establishing an employment and skills board, which will be chaired by the private sector, to lead on this. However, we are not starting totally anew – we already have the nationally renowned Cornwall Works that brings together all the welfare to work delivery across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”
For further information please contact:
Clare Morgan, Media Relations Manager, Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Tel: 01872 241379 / 07973 813647.
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This year’s Outstanding Achievement Award at the Cornwall Works WISE awards has been won by Pentreath – an organisation which offers training, work experience and employment opportunities for people in Cornwall who are recovering from mental ill health.
For further information see: www.convergencecornwall.com
Convergence helpline telephone: 0800 0280120.
WISE Winners in 2010 are:
· Welfare to Work individual Award Winner
A veteran of the 1st Gulf War and proud to serve his country but on leaving the army Rich Emerson experienced many barriers to adjusting to everyday life and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He drifted through a variety of jobs and a series of unsuccessful treatments for PTSD. Four years ago he got help via the Royal British Legion from the Combat Stress charity and Warrior programme. More recently he undertook the highly successful “Talking to Minds” course.
Understanding that there are many returning service personnel who suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Rich developed a programme of activity to help them, combining his passion and skill for surfing with relaxation and Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques.
Rich has had support from a variety of sources – from the friendships he has developed through surfing, from the Pathways to Work programme and from the Cornwall Works for Social Enterprise ESF Convergence Programme that helped him to move off benefits and start his own business “Surf Action”. Surf Action is now delivering activity for the Cornwall Works 50+ ESF programme and for the Real Choices programme.
· Welfare to Work organisation / project Award Winner
Skills Centre at Penwith Community Development Trust
Skills Centre at Penwith Community Development Trust is an organisation based in Penzance that for a number of years has helped people to build their confidence, motivation and skills for work through innovative packages of interventions, joined up by expert employment advisers.
The centre, supported by investment from the ESF Convergence programme, provides participants with a wide range of support including 1-2-1 employment advice, personal and career development, and training packages to gain qualifications for work.
Working in partnership with Cornwall Healthy Living Centre and Penwith Volunteer Bureau, Skills Centre advisers have helped many people with complex and multiple barriers move from benefits to work. This includes access to counselling and complementary therapy and opportunities to explore volunteering as a means to gain confidence, new skills and work experience.
As a sub-contractor in the Cornwall Works Plus ESF Convergence programme, the Skills centre team has consistently exceeded delivery targets. The advisory team are extremely supportive, knowledgeable and committed to making a difference for their customers with feedback from participants being overwhelmingly positive.
· Innovation individual Award Winner
Mark Jones joined Dash Ltd through the Unlocking Cornish Potential graduate placement scheme which receives ESF Convergence support.
Dash Ltd is a family owned business that successfully operates selling wholesale, newspapers, Ordnance Survey maps and batteries to 300 retailers. The company wanted to develop its range of goods and break into new markets and Mark was taken on to take to develop Dash Ltd’s web presence.
Mark has a background in Business and Marketing and took the business on-line to access different markets. Working with a mentor who specialised in e-marketing, Mark used pay-per-click methods and developed an online campaign which saw business turnover increase to £1.1 million over two years. Considering Mark’s original brief was to achieve a turnover of £160,000 – this project has been a tremendous success.
The company has successfully broken into new markets and now trades nationally as well as locally. Mark has two online shops running – www.dash4it.co.uk and www.dash4yourshop.co.uk and the company is one of the top ten ordnance survey wholesalers in the UK and two further staff have been employed to cope with the growth in business.
· Innovation organisation / project Award Winner
The ECIF e-Marketing project
The ECIF e-Marketing project is an innovative project designed to help businesses in Cornwall through the recession by utilising emerging digital technologies.
The ECIF e-Marketing Project is funded by HEFCE, ESF Convergence (through Unlocking Cornish Potential) & ERDF Convergence (through Knowledge Exchange South West) and led by University College Falmouth, alongside Cornwall College, and Truro & Penwith College and Business Link.
The project has employed seven graduates who have trained alongside 5 digital marketing companies across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to deliver e-Marketing solutions. The graduates have been supported by Unlocking Cornish Potential, through training and mentoring, to help them develop new skills.
The Graduate Project Managers are now trained in Search Engine Optimisation, e-mail marketing, pay-per-click, Google analytics, Social Media and other e-marketing specialisms. Working alongside the 5 businesses graduates have designed and implemented campaigns for small businesses that have been adversely affected by the recession.
By working in this innovative way the project has provided work and training for 7 graduates, as well as an invaluable service to businesses who would otherwise have been unable to engage in e-marketing to this level.
· Skills individual Award Winner
A Union Learning Rep, Kevin has made a real difference in securing and delivering a workforce development programme at A&P Falmouth. A member of the GMB union Kevin was instrumental in negotiating the Marine Skills project at A&P Falmouth, and his considerable talent for engaging learners in the workplace has ensured its success.
The project started in September 2009 with an open day where Kevin ensured that over 70 people attended. Since then Kevin has been pivotal in delivering the learning programme, from working with providers to encouraging learners to attend and enrol. He has also supported and mentored individual learners through their courses wherever needed.
As a result, the training facility at A&P Falmouth is fully utilised, Monday to Friday. To date courses in skills for life and IT have supported over 80 people in the workforce to undertake qualifications from entry level to NVQ level 3 in a range of areas including skills for life, IT, ESOL, leadership and management and Contract law.
· Skills organisation / project Award Winner
Cornwall Marine Network
Cornwall Marine Network is a not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting the Marine sector in Cornwall via initiatives that improve business profitability and encourage growth through quality, innovation and training.
Established in 2002 to improve the prosperity of Cornwall's world-class marine sector - it received its first round of EU funding in 2005. Five years on, the Network remains firmly rooted in the sector, seeing the key to the current and future success as continuing to support members through inventive training and marketing initiatives.
Cornwall Marine Network supports marine business through three main initiatives:
Marketing Initiatives that help you generate more enquiries and orders
Training Initiatives that sustain and improve your skills base to allow you to compete effectively
Networking Initiatives that encourage the exchange of best practice between CMN members and other organisations
Looking to the future, and in response to members concerns about lack of awareness of marine careers among Cornwall’s young people, the organisation set up Cornwall Marine Academy in 2008. Since its launch it has actively engaged with over 1,000 14-19 year-olds, many of whom were NEET (not in education, employment or training).
· Employer championing Welfare to Work
The Range, Truro
The Range has shown real commitment to employing people through welfare to work programmes. They have worked closely with Jobcentre Plus to develop pre-employment routeways designed to give long term benefit recipients a chance to compete effectively for jobs within the company.
They are pro-active at recruiting Jobcentre Plus customers; they welcome help, listen to advice and are open to new ideas. In a recent recruitment drive, all six candidates were selected from a Jobcentre Plus pre-employment programme.
In particular, The Range has been positive about employing people with disabilities, focussing on talent and ability. Once in the workforce, employees are supported on a 1-2-1 basis, with coaching and mentoring and wherever required, through adapting the workplace to meet employees needs. All employees undertake accredited training that includes NVQs.
Singled out for particular praise is store manager, Holly Stevenson, who goes the extra mile to support her employees, including using her sign language skills to mentor a hearing impaired new recruit to quickly become an integral part of the workforce. Holly is working closely with Jobcentre Plus to run another pre-employment course aimed specifically at recruiting people with Asperger's syndrome.
· Employer championing Skills
Cornwall Farmers is a local company, established in 1920. In February 2009, the retail division of the company embarked on a major training initiative involving its 170 retail staff. Developed in partnership with Cornwall College and Cornwall Retail Skills, and funded by investment from the ESF Convergence programme and Train to Gain, the training programme is bespoke to the company’s needs.
Training combines store based activity with innovative workshops delivered by national experts in topics such as visual merchandising and management skills. Qualifications range from basic skills through to NVQ 4 and cover a broad range of subjects including Business Administration, Warehousing and Distribution, Retail Management, Customer Service and Supply Chain Management
As a result of the investment in its workforce, the company has seen rising levels of staff satisfaction, a 24% reduction in absences and an 8% increase in sales.