ABZWorks development fund boosts employability projects


A further twelve grassroots organisations have received funding totalling £117,218 from the ABZWorks Development Fund to develop their employability projects, Aberdeen City Council announced today (25 April 2024).

ABZWorks has utilised No One Left Behind monies from the Scottish Government to help it connect to those hardest to reach and gently move them onto and along the employment pipeline.

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Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Christian Allard, said: “These organisations provide real opportunities for individuals to gain new experiences, learn new skills and gain the confidence to access employment perhaps for the first time or the chance to get a better paid job. This can help people to get out of poverty, end social isolation, improve the health and social wellbeing of those individuals, which in turn has a positive impact on their families, the wider community and for all of us living in Aberdeen.”

Following a successful first round of funding earlier in the year, applications were invited from local and grass roots organisations that are not on the Council’s employability services procurement framework, to demonstrate how their projects meet local need and reflect local circumstances. Applicants had to detail how they would support people far removed from the labour market, and how they would deliver these projects, including early engagement activities.

The ABZWorks Development Fund offers local providers the opportunity to build their capacity to deliver employability-related activities that have a particular focus on those with barriers to employment.

The Fund supports small, local groups and organisations across the city, primarily within the priority areas: Kincorth, Ashgrove, Stockethill, Torry, George Street, Middlefield, Mastrick, Cummings Park, Northfield, Heathryfold, Seaton, Woodside, and Tillydrone.

Chloe Peters, Funding and Grants Officer, Autism and Neurodiversity North Scotland (A-ND), said: “With the funding from ABZWorks, A-ND will be able to provide crucial employability support to individuals that are often overlooked and struggle to find support that suits their individual needs. We are immensely grateful for this funding which will make a substantial impact for local autistic and neurodiverse individuals that are looking for employment.”

David Smith, Project Coordinator, at Middlefield Community Project, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this fund from ABZWorks to support our Adult Learning projects. These courses are vital for local people in terms of making connections, improving their mental health, as well as upskilling local people to help make positive changes in their lives.

“This fund will help us target adults living in poverty that we can support and will remove a lot of barriers for people who struggle to access learning opportunities out with their community.”

Touch of Love’s Outreach Manager Jane Akadiri, said: “This generous grant from ABZWorks is a game-changer for our ‘Aberdeen Thrive: Building Bridges to Employment’ project. This initiative is dedicated to empowering new Scots within the BAME communities, focusing on women and single parents, by breaking down employment barriers.

“Through tailored one-to-one Thrive Clinics, workshops, specialised language training, and vital childcare support services, we’re setting the stage for meaningful employment opportunities by bridging the gap between talent and opportunity, and fostering a thriving, inclusive community.”

Stephanie Wallis, Music 4 U’s Events, Media and Fundraising Officer, said: “The AbzWorks Development Fund will enable us to create an employability skills project for young people aged 16+ who have additional support needs (ASN). The project will be based in Music 4 U’s social enterprise The Ivories Coffee Shop.

“They will be supported to develop transferable skills such as confidence, teamwork, time management and communication skills. They’ll also learn an array of practical skills required for hospitality and events that can be applied to the workplace or further learning.”

The ABZWorks Development Fund Round 2 recipients are:

Autism and Neurodiversity North Scotland: to establish an employability support programme, lead by our specialised employability advisor, which is tailored to the needs of autistic and neurodiverse individuals.
Silver City Surfers: Digital skills drop-in sessions in priority areas.
Touch of Love: to develop weekly one-to-one sessions to alleviate barriers to employment faced by Aberdeen New Scots.
Catalyst Transform: to generate work placements and training opportunities for those involved in the Criminal Justice System.
Denis Law Legacy Trust: support 1-1 sessions with young people to enhance their skills and build confidence before employment.
Your Love Rara: to develop volunteering opportunities for young people.
Cairncry Community Centre: Cookery sessions for parents/carers with dependent children.
Bethany Christian Trust: Weekly drop-in café, The Toastie Club, for people who have experienced homelessness.
Middlefield Community Project: to support learning and coping skills tutors, and assist with delivery of the community café.
Inchgarth Community Centre: Increase capacity of volunteer coordination to recruit and support additional volunteers, IT classes and training.
Music 4 U: Employability skills project for young people with additional support needs.
Instant Neighbour: to increase opportunities for their volunteers by offering recognised qualifications and 1-1 development sessions.

These activities help to deliver actions set out in the Aberdeen Local Employability Partnership Delivery Plan and the Aberdeen’s Community Wealth Building Action Plan.

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