As the Norfolk Community College project comes to an end soon, we wanted to take a look back on our favourite moments and achievements from each year. Read below to learn about the history and success the project has experienced from our first launch in 2017:
After recruiting its programme team early 2017, the partnership came together to complete an induction programme. This was a critical step for a positive partnership as relationship between each project post and role, and an awareness of the specialisms of each delivery partner was discussed and a way of working together embedded.
The projects team focus quickly turned to supporting people furthest away from the labour market back into work, identifying a range of colocation sites and local complimentary service provider to reach and target communities facing engagement barriers.
This approach also included the job of working with employer businesses as part of the project’s responsible employer network. The inclusion of Santander as participant mentors to provide a range of services including advice to participants about the banking sector, attending Future Radio as guests on their business life show, and even attending jobs fairs across Norfolk on the project’s outreach bus.
In 2018 The project e-procurement process Dynamic Purchasing System released its first specification targeting training provisions for people with mental health support needs. Allowing for the project to respond to any gaps in provision and/or specialist needs across Norfolk as they are identified by project partners, participants and community groups, the photo shows Eves Hill, the ‘Learn to Grow’ horticulture project. Which saw our participants take on hands-on practical work with other members of the community to contribute and develop the Community Market Garden in Reepham.
2018 also saw more than 1,000 people attend the Norfolk Community College and Great Yarmouth Job Centre Plus Jobs Fair. A significant moment in the project’s timeline, to lay the way for a number of community-based jobs fayre between the DWP and the project. One which included the recent Jan 2023 Find your future event at East Coast College’s Great Yarmouth Campus.
Shortly after organising an employment and training-themed event to mark International Women’s Day, the project was informed that it was to be extended beyond 2019.
In a year of events, 2019 also featured The Norfolk Community College and the JCP held a disability confidence awareness event, supporting local businesses to become Disability Confident and bringing together providers from GY & Waveney together who support customers with disabilities and employers seeking to broaden their talent pool. As the photos illustrate this work remained a priority for the partnership.
January 2020 Great Yarmouth Jobs Fayre saw over a thousand people from across the Great Yarmouth borough flock to Great Yarmouth Town Hall for an event organised by Great Yarmouth Jobcentre Plus in partnership with Norfolk Community College project and Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Again, another example of partnership working within districts.
March 2020 saw the world adapt to difficult circumstances. The Norfolk Community College project was no different. We shifted our delivery during lockdown to support people to focus on their training and employment goals whilst providing Health and wellbeing online sessions and posting activity packs designed to positively impact on your physical and mental health.
In April 2021 we reviewed the impact of our project’s ‘Better off Calculations’. Designed to guide and give confidence to participants to transition from claiming benefits to being in work, groups such as single parents or people with long term health were giving the information they need to see if they would be financially better off in work.
By providing wrapping around support with employment, this analysis showed the difference this approach can make to connecting people to employment.
April 2021 also saw the Norfolk Community College project hit a major milestone, having supported more than 150 people in Norfolk to get back into employment. assisted over 1,000 people in Norfolk who’ve experienced periods of unemployment to learn new skills, get back into work and find a career they love.
In 2022, we saw the project develop its offer as we linked more stepping stone opportunities within the project.
The impact for the local communities is considerable:
A total of 41 local residents have been employed by project’s partnership since 2017, helping to extend the reach of the project.
The increasing need for people to access mental health, money and debt advice as the cost of living pressures mounted meant that the project responded throguh a range of innovative activities. Projects involving our partnership meant that advice sessions were often held in warm spaces venues. This meant that our partnership were able to better serve communities across Norfolk by building a network of cost of living support around individuals in order to overcome their barriers to employment.