ST HELENS Council is asking Europe to support total spending of £1.7 million on 30 training and education schemes.

They are being launched mainly by the council's Community Education and Leisure Services Department, with two schemes promoted by the Personal Services Department.

The wide-ranging projects are aimed at improving the prospects of young people in schools, as well as those unemployed, by offering training courses in a comprehensive package of initiatives. Schemes also include familiarisation visits between schools and industry, as well as to industry in Europe.

The council has successfully bid in the past for funds to aid these initiatives. In 1995 grant aid of more than £500,000 was received, 71 per cent of the total council bid.

A similar success rate for the 1996 programme would produce a European Social Fund grant of £855,506, almost half the total being spent on schemes.

Chair of the council's Community Education Committee, Councillor Marlene Newman, said: "The education and training initiatives being continued by the council are very important to the development and future of many of our young people in the borough. A successful bid for grants from the European Social Fund is vital for the continuation of these major initiatives."

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