SHETLAND Islands Council is to receive just over £500,000 over five years from the European Social Fund to help people find work.
The SIC is one of 16 local authorities across Scotland to receive grants from the Scottish government’s £43 million scheme.
The money will be go to local services, such as the Moving On Employment Project and the NHS, to help people overcome obstacles to getting into work.
Shetland’s employment rate from 2009 to 2015 was 82.6 per cent, and the isles continue to have one of the lowest levels of unemployment in Scotland.
The scheme encourages local authorities to “promote suitable and quality employment”, as well as provide greater access to opportunities for job seekers and inactive people.
Moving On Employment Project declined to comment on the funding at this stage.
However SIC development director Neil Grant said the money will be used to help a range of people across the isles who may be struggling to get a job.
“We applied for this funding a wee while ago, so we’ve been waiting for the confirmation,” he said.
“The funding will be spread out over five years and essentially it’s for getting people into employment who have barriers. Some of that relates to conditions they may have that could prevent them from getting a job, so some of it will go to the NHS.
“Some of it, particularly for younger people or people who have been out of a job for a while, will go towards helping people not only getting a job, but holding onto it.”
Grant added that around 30-50 people are in line to benefit from the funding at any point in time.
The Scottish government’s fair work secretary Roseanna Cunningham meanwhile said that “work remains to be done” across Scotland as a whole to ensure there are no obstacles to employment.
“Alongside action to boost employment and growth around the country, I hope to see further positive results stemming from this vital investment,” she said.
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott called on the government to issue the funding as quickly as possible to allow local projects to continue.
“Many local organisations have been waiting for the confirmation of this funding which will help to keep important Shetland projects moving forward,” the Liberal Democrat said.
“The Scottish government must look at how quickly this money is allocated so Shetland and other areas get the best use of any European funding such as this.”
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