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03.06.05
Woodwork Award

A wood industry training project that has helped more than 100 people back to work in Devon and Cornwall has won a top merit award in a national competition.

Woodworks, which is run by the Silvanus Trust cost more than £230,000, £100,000 of which has come from the Objective One ESF (European Social Fund) investment.

Will Frost, Woodworks Project Officer, learned this week that the project has been selected for a merit award in the sustainable development category in the European Social Fund award scheme. He said: "We are pleased to be recognised for this long running project that we have tailored to the needs of unemployed people and the wood industry. It is a project that is really valued and appreciated by all participants. The project was chosen because of the balanced and innovative ways in which it is addressing different aspects of sustainable development."

There will be a formal award ceremony at the ESF UK Presidency Conference in Manchester on the 14th of October 2005, where guests have been invited from all over Europe. The competition was open to all schemes that have received ESF investment.

Woodworks helps small businesses create and maintain new jobs for unskilled people in the woodland management and wood-using sectors. The project provides support, off-the-peg training, bespoke courses and wage subsidies.

Mr Frost said that to date Woodworks has helped 114 unemployed people into work and will get another 54 people into work over the next two years. "In the past year we have provided 83 training courses and assisted twelve unemployed people to set up businesses, all of which are still trading."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One partnership, said: "I am delighted that Woodworks has received national recognition for its achievements. This project is a highly successful way of bringing previously unskilled people into the workplace. Objective One in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is all about encouraging as many people as possible into the workplace to help raise the region's wealth."

Mr Frost added: "We work with other initiatives to support unemployed people to a state when they feel ready for work, often having been out of work for a long time. A number of the jobs are taken up by young people allowing them to stay in their local area and not move out of the county or to urban areas. Woodworks is also a catalyst for the creation of new jobs in the wood industry. Business growth in wood businesses is slow often due to barriers of recruitment cost and skill shortages. Woodworks is specifically designed to help employers get over these barriers and grow their businesses. In one particular case, the turn-over of a small business aided by Woodworks increased by 300%."

He added that the project's environmental benefits include increased woodland management, planting and use of local wood.

For further information please contact Clare Morgan, the Objective One Partnership Office on 01872 223439 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Woodworks through the European Social Fund (ESF).

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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