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Review and forward plan for the Opportunity Gateway Learning Network: interim report - the Opportunity Gateway Partnership


The Learning Network, now known as the Opportunity Gateway Learning Network, was established by Scottish Enterprise Grampian in 1998 to address the needs of families and individuals in disadvantaged areas of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. It is a community resource that encourages members of the community to engage in work, learning and in the sustainable development of their community and local economy, with the aim of lifting them out of poverty. The Network consists of five ‘Learning Houses’ and six Learning Projects, providing training and help finding employment.


The interim report is based on data on to the performance of the Network between April 2005 and October 2006 provided by Aberdeen Foyer, and on information gathered through interviews with eight individuals from partner and funder organisations, and with ten staff members.


The report finds that the Network exceeded its target of getting people into jobs, with 117 entering employment, 85 of whom sustained employment for at least one month, during the period studied. The transition to new management, under the Aberdeen Foyer, had been a success and there had been no loss of service to the communities involved, and in fact there had been an increased quality of service. However, there remained significant potential for the Network to develop further.


Recommendations are split into operational and strategic recommendations. Operational recommendations include: that the Network works with other service providers to enhance the Family Learning Project to offer training and support across a wider range of issues; that it investigates opportunities for extending the opening hours of the Learning Houses; that suitable ICT course is sought to offer to those who have completed the ‘keybytes’ course but do not feel confident to begin the ECDL; that the current staffing vacancies are re-assessed and if possible filled as appropriate; that the possibility of creating a more flexible team of staff to work across the Learning Houses is investigated; that more regular meetings take place between managers and Network staff; that the Network continues to explore and develop links with other local agencies, organisations and initiatives; and that consideration be given to charging businesses who use the Learning Houses to train their staff. Strategic recommendations include: an early facilitated session with the Opportunity Gateway Partnership to discuss and agree new opportunities in taking the Network forward; an in-depth assessment of the links between the Network and the Community Plans in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; and that the Network continues to explore the potential to deliver on new strategies as they emerge – such as Workforce Plus and the NEET (not in employment, education or training) strategy.

Author Blake Stevenson
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Economic Inclusion