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Employment programme launches in Hampshire and extended on IOW

With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to squeeze household income, Sovereign is working with key partners to provide one-to-one employment coaching to help Hampshire and IOW residents find meaningful training and work opportunities.  

Skills 4 Work has been delivered on the Isle of Wight since April 2021, supporting 100 local residents to access professional advice, training opportunities and employment. 

Following its success, Skills 4 Work has been extended on the IOW and will now launch in Hampshire, in September 2022. The Hampshire project has received £30k in funding from the Solent Supporting Employment Grant Programme, with an additional £20k invested by Sovereign.  

Managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, The Solent Supporting Employment Programme has been set up to reach and work with individuals facing complex barriers to employment, enabling them to move closer towards or into work. This project is part-funded by the European Social Fund. 

Skills 4 Work is completely free, and open to all Hampshire and IOW residents, regardless of whether they live in a Sovereign home.  Anyone aged 16 and over and not in paid employment or full time education can be supported to explore local work and training opportunities, and develop their employability skills.  Members of Sovereign’s employment and training team work together to provide the dedicated one-to-one support and coaching.

Erica Watts, Head of Employment and Training at Sovereign said: “We have a proven track record when it comes to helping our customers into employment.  Over the financial last year, and across all our employment related programmes, we helped over 400 individuals either find work, or better paid work. 

“The launch of the Hampshire Skills 4 Work programme and extension on the IOW really builds on this success, by extending our comprehensive community investment programme to residents and those living in communities where we operate. 

“Investing in our communities is something we are deeply passionate about and we look forward to helping more Hampshire and IOW residents find employment.”    

Jacqui Scott, CEO at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation said: “HIWCF is delighted to be supporting the Sovereign Skills 4 Work initiative with a total grant of £55,615. These employment and training programmes will have a huge impact on residents from low-income communities, and particularly on residents who may have multiple barriers to employment.

“This project is part of a wider three year and £1.76 million Solent Supporting Employment Grant Programme which is providing grants of between £30,000 – £60,000 to local organisations in the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, to help individuals facing complex barriers to employment, particularly where deprivation and unemployment are high.”

Skills 4 Work Hampshire will run until the end of March 2023. 

The Hampshire and IOW Skills 4 Work programmes are currently open for referrals. For more information on either and to make a referral, please email Skills4work@sovereign.org.uk 


The Skills 4 Work programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund. Sovereign is also working in partnership with The Solent Supporting Employment and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation. On the IOW Sovereign is working with these same partners and Southern Housing Group.

Please see the separate attachment for the logo's of the organisations Sovereign is working in partnership with to use with this release. 

Skills 4 Work funding logos