The WE Work for Everyone project aims to improve employment outcomes for people with learning disabilities across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Through offering specialist employment support and supported internships, the project would respond to the specific needs of people with learning disabilities from age 16.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “WE Work for Everyone is a great initiative offering dedicated and intensive support – with a direct connection between education and employers – which many people with a learning disability may need to help them work towards, find and retain paid employment.
“Improving job opportunities and ensuring that everyone can fulfil their potential, regardless of their circumstances, is one of my key ambitions for the region. We’re already supporting young people through our Careers Hub, and improving skills to help people succeed at work with Future Bright. The WE Work for Everyone project could help even more people to improve their futures and we wish it well for a successful bid to the European Social Fund.”
The £4.4m WE Work for Everyone programme is anticipated to run over three-and-a-half years. Bristol City Council is leading the collaborative bid, on behalf of the four West of England councils, for £2.2m from the European Social Fund, together with the £1.3m from WECA and other secured match funding from local authority and further education sources of £927,000.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “It is a key priority of ours to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to pursue their ambition and achieve their full potential.
“We already connect employers and schools with our city-wide WORKS programme, which has a focus on young people with disabilities, and via the Future Bright employment support programme.
“We fully support the aims of the WE Work for Everyone initiative and are proud to lead this bid. If successful, this new project will be key to making sure young people with disabilities can access the education and employment path to help them flourish.”
The WECA Committee has agreed to allocate £1.3m to the WE Work for Everyone project, subject to a full business case and the project securing a bid for £2.2m from the European Social Fund.