Employment boost for students and graduates

Lindsey Birtwhistle, University of Winchester

The University of Winchester is appealing for recent graduates looking to start their own business to join a major project aimed at boosting business opportunities for people not in work. Inspiring Enterprise has received £1.45m of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme. This programme aims to tackle the root causes of poverty, promote social inclusion and drive local jobs and growth. From July, the University will be holding events for unemployed or economically inactive graduates to find out more about starting their own enterprise. A range of workshops, advice sessions, mentoring and networking events will continue until the end of 2018 for those wishing to develop their ideas. The university is specifically targeting unemployed graduates thinking of starting their own businesses, but help is also available for students nearing the end of academic studies who are considering self-employment. Project Officer Lindsey Birtwhistle, who is co-ordinating the project, said: “We will be working with students who live within the M3 corridor – and we are also open to people who have graduated from any university within the last three years as long as they live in this region and are unemployed. “We have already had a large sign-up from our students. They are all driven, ambitious and have a huge range of different ideas and skills. However, it is harder to locate recent graduates so I am appealing for more to come forward to participate.” Lindsey added: “We will pair participants up with mentors, invite them to workshops led by industry specialists, stage networking events, build connections and offer access to a huge pool of shared resources.” The project is managed by WSX Enterprise, with support from partners Surrey Community Action, Fredericks Foundation, the University of Winchester and Action Hampshire. WSX Enterprise Project Manager Liz Wright said: “Students sometimes have a tough time getting their first job after finishing university or college. “The support that the University of Winchester is offering will help them to turn their skills and ideas into a sustainable business, helping them take their first steps into self-employment.” Overall, Inspiring Enterprise will help 500 unemployed people in the New Forest, North Hampshire and South Surrey to change their own lives and the communities in which they live. You can find out more about the project on the website:  www.inspiringenterprise.org.uk or by calling 01962 827435.     Notes to editors: Building Better Opportunities The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small local projects. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded £583 million and supported around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. The BBO project has received up to £300 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding   News release issued by: Cliff Moore, Account Director Deep South Media Mobile: 07469 158458 Office: 01202 534487 E-mail: cliff.moore@deepsouthmedia.co.uk