The £14.3 million North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund (NEERSF) will boost employment prospects for people across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and accelerate economic growth in the region.
The NEERSF funding, confirmed by the Scottish Government in August, will support young people into work, help people re-skill and up-skill, increase innovation and boost business growth. It will address some of the disproportionate economic impact in the region from Covid-19, the oil and gas downturn and climate emergency. More than 3,000 people – from school leavers and graduates to those already in jobs – will benefit from the NEERSF programme over the next six months.
The 29 NEERSF projects focus on entrepreneurship; accelerating business start-up and growth; increasing digital skills; equality and inclusion; and upskilling and reskilling people to enter or remain in work and take advantage of new jobs in sectors including energy transition, health and social care.
Delivered by a group of regional partners, the NEERSF programme will have a particular focus on energy, hospitality and tourism industries which have been disproportionately affected and young people particularly disadvantaged in the jobs market.
Regional Partners & Projects:
Aberdeen City Council (ACC) Aberdeen City Council is the lead accountable body and will oversee the delivery of this programme, which brings together a range of partners from the public, private and education sectors to support training, business growth and job creation across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire. ACC are directly responsible for delivering three projects, the authority has secured more than £2million to create paid internships and work experience placements to provide valuable industry experience to college and university graduates and people aged 25+ who face barriers to employment. More than £110,000 will be used to support young people who have disengaged from education but who remain on the school roll and who are too young to benefit from other employability funding; and £18,000 will be used to support people accessing these programmes to overcome financial barriers to employment.
Aberdeenshire Council Aberdeenshire Council will deliver the 'The Deens Project', a collaboration between schools, CLD and Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust to re- engage young people in the learning process that results in gaining qualifications, achievements and skills for their future work and life. There is an additional focus on the promotion of a growth mindset, improved resilience, ambitious career planning and good management of mental health.
Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) AGCC is running a training and support programme for SMEs in the North-east of Scotland to build knowledge and resilience around the climate emergency and net zero. The programme will help businesses understand how they need to adapt to operate in a net zero environment and to the impacts of climate change. It will focus on SMEs that have limited knowledge and resources to address these issues and who have been impacted by Covid-19 with a focus on those in the energy supply chain, construction, manufacturing and third sector.
Energy Transition Zone (ETZ Ltd.) ETZ Ltd.’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Programme provides a platform for oil and gas operators to work hand in hand with supply chain companies to identify opportunities and explore deployable solutions to reduce GHG emissions and help meet UK net zero targets. For the next 12 months, quarterly mission challenge areas will be presented; the first opportunity, which launched during October, focuses on ‘Flaring and venting reduction’. Supply chain companies across North East Scotland are invited to submit proposals detailing how their existing products and services could be used to materially contribute to significantly reducing or potentially eliminating gas flaring and venting from onshore and offshore oil and gas production processing.
Opportunity North East (ONE) Opportunity North East leads and delivers £6 million of new business growth, innovation and skills programmes funded by the North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund to boost employment and economic recovery in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. The projects include key sector accelerators, an innovation investment fund, a graduate into business programme, leadership and entrepreneurial skills programmes, and hospitality apprenticeships.
Robert Gordon University (RGU) RGU will use £1.7million of NEERSF funding to deliver initiatives focused on entrepreneurship, health, social care, and upskilling to support those that were most disadvantaged or affected by the pandemic or the impact of energy transition in the region—either individually or because of the sector they work in. Throughout the pandemic RGU has worked with partners and used Government programmes to help companies find new ways of doing business and helped individuals to upskill or reskill. The new funds will allow the university to focus its efforts and accelerate that work and, with RGU's partners, help the region to recover and prosper.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Skills Development Scotland will deliver a Digital Pilot Licence with the aim of upskilling and reskilling individuals so they can take advantage of the opportunities emerging as the region delivers on UK and Scottish energy transition objectives. SDS will also offer an expansion of the Digital Start Fund, targeting a specific cohort for the region to help those on low incomes or with other specified barriers access jobs in the digital sector.
University of Aberdeen Through NEERSF individuals can apply for funding for online short postgraduate courses across a range of disciplines such as energy transition, leadership and management, nutrition, health and wellbeing, and in-demand skills. There are also short access courses in Maths at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher levels and English at Higher level which could help participants take their career to the next level, enable them to take the first steps into a new career or to start their own business.