What is Convergence?
Convergence is the current European economic regeneration investment for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, with commitment that runs to 2013 and spend until 2015.
Convergence is investing in activities that will have a long-term impact on the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It will help to build a stronger more diverse economy by supporting businesses and helping people into employment and those in work gain new and up-to-date skills. This includes work with higher education to promote business-friendly research and innovation, and investment in 21st century digital connectivity.
Convergence consists of two funds: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) and the details of these are found in the contracts with Europe – the Operational Programmes. In the case of ESF this has been further developed into a framework for delivery and the co-financing plans for both Jobcentre Plus and Skills Funding Agency. These documents provide the overall shape for Convergence investment.
The Convergence mission is to establish the momentum for transforming the economy that will make a long-term difference to the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Convergence will invest in a range of activities aimed at strengthening our economy, by:
- Developing our people
- Strengthening business
- Investing in our future
- Making connections
For more information, the latest news, and case studies on Convergence investments visit www.convergencecornwall.com and follow convergence news on Twitter.
Cornwall Works and Convergence
ESF Convergence is one of the investment streams that support the delivery of the Cornwall Works strategy. The strategy brings together mainstream, European and alternatively funded projects and initiatives into an overall ready-for-work programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. As such, Cornwall Works sets the strategic context for the delivery of Priority 4 of the Convergence ESF programme as detailed in the ESF Convergence Framework for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and the Jobcentre Plus co-financing plan.
Through co-ordinating delivery, Cornwall Works can identify gaps in provision, trial new delivery approaches and evidence the interventions and activities that are most effective in helping people on their pathway to employment. All of this knowledge can be fed into the commissioning plans and programme specifications of organisations with a remit to help people to gain skills and move into work, such as the Jobcentre Plus / DWP and the Skills Funding Agency.
The current Jobcentre Plus / DWP ESF Convergence delivery plan (called the co-financing plan) that runs from 2008-2011 was developed using information and evidence gained through Cornwall Works. It is the best performing co-financing plan in England. Through the plan, three programmes were commissioned using ESF Convergence investment; Cornwall Works Plus, Cornwall Works for Social Enterprise and Cornwall Works for Learning Disabilities. These programmes are highly effective at helping people into work.
For more information see the Convergence Cornwall website, read an introduction to Convergence, and the latest Convergence Report.
ESF Convergence and Framework Providers Event
On February 24th a Framework Providers Event was held at Kingsley Village in Mid-Cornwall.
Framework Providers are those organisations that have been pre-qualified by the DWP to deliver programmes in the south-west, including Cornwall. They have already submitted bids for the national ‘Work Programme,’ and are able to bid for the Cornwall-only, ESF Convergence contract which is due to be announced imminently.
Cornwall Council organised this event to bring the Framework Providers to Cornwall in order for them to develop a deeper understanding of our local issues and how we have delivered Convergence programmes previously, and so ensure that the delivery of welfare-to-work and ESF Convergence programmes best meets the needs of people, communities and businesses in Cornwall.
Speakers included Sandra Rothwell, the Head of Economic Development for Cornwall Council; Carleen Kelemen, the Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; and Paul Wickes, the Chair of the Employment and Skills Board.
The agenda of the meeting included:
- Welcome by Carolyn Rule, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration.
- Economic Context, by Sandra Rothwell, Head of Economic Development for Cornwall Council.
- The Convergence Journey, by Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
- Jobcentre Plus, Working for Cornwall, by Carolyn Webster, European Programmes and External Relations Manager, Jobcentre Plus Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
- Superfast Cornwall, Broadband for our Future, by Nigel Ashcroft.
- ESF Green Skills by Justin Olosunde.
- Eco-Bos, Creating Sustainable Communities, by Ben Wood.
- A series of short sector briefings.
- A marketplace of 24 ‘delivery provider’ stalls to enable networking with the Framework Providers at the break points.
Items 2 to 7 above can be clicked on to view the presentations.