Toggle mobile menu visibility

More than 600 supported as Chances Project marks first year

Norfolk County Council, 17 May 2022 00:00

More than 600 residents supported back to work as Chances project celebrates its first anniversary.

More than 600 Norfolk residents have been supported by the Chances project since it launched in April 2021. The project offers free employment support to individuals who are looking for work but face challenges.

A total of 627 residents have been given one to one support tailored to their needs including help with job and training searches, CV writing and practice interviews. Of those, 158 have actually started a new job.

The project offers one to one sessions to help boost confidence, improve wellbeing and increase motivation. People can also benefit from taking part in sport and physical activities through the Street Life Soccer Programme delivered by the Community Sports Foundation.

Cllr Graham Plant, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council and Cabinet Member for Growing the Economy, said: "As we mark the first year of the Chances project, it's extremely encouraging to see so many of our residents getting the support they need to access work and training opportunities.

"We have project partners based across the county who have excellent local knowledge and experience in delivering employment support. I urge anyone who feels they could benefit from support from the Chances project - or if they know someone who might - to get in touch with their local representative."

The Chances project is managed by Norfolk County Council and delivered by local partners: Voluntary Norfolk, Norfolk Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Diss, Thetford and District, and Future Projects. Many of the people the project supports are referred by voluntary and community organisations and Job Centre Plus. But people can also refer themselves.

Case study - Michelle*

*At the individual's request, a pseudonym is in use for this case study

Michelle is a 27 year old woman who referred herself to Chances after looking online for employment support in her area.

Michelle was suffering from incredibly low self esteem after spending a long time working in retail. She has recently been diagnosed with ADD which her Chances adviser, Debbie, spoke with her about at length - in particular coping strategies and learning styles - she also has dyslexia. Michelle holds a Master's degree in Curation, so conversations also covered roles that might fit with her interests in this area.

After a short while Michelle opened up about how her previous jobs ended because of making in her words "silly mistakes". Debbie reassured her that this can happen, and could even be a symptom of her learning difficulty, and went on to speak about reasonable adjustments in the work place and Access to Work should she need adaptive technologies in the future.

At her second appointment, Michelle had researched some of what was discussed previously and had decided that actually she would like to do peer support work or similar. She wanted to use her lived experience to help others, so was set a task to research specific organisations.

Michelle found, applied for and got an interview for an Employment Support Adviser role with the NHS Wellbeing service so Michelle and Debbie set about doing some interview preparation work. Michelle was emailed a list of potential interview questions that may be asked to go over before her next meeting.

Debbie held an informal mock Interview for Michelle over Microsoft Teams and she had done brilliantly at preparing answers to the questions. Michelle was worried about what to ask them, so was talked through this by her adviser and given some suggestions.

Michelle had her interview and later that day was offered the role. She was absolutely thrilled, and surprised because she has never done this sort of work before. The interviewer fed back that she scored the highest of all the candidates!

Michelle started her new job a couple of months ago and is now keen to learn to drive which is a barrier for her.

In Your Own Words

Michelle was asked some questions about her experience of the Chances project, and answered in her own words below:

How did you hear about Chances?

I was signposted to Chances via the Norfolk County Council Skills & Employment Team.

Why did you choose to join Chances?

I chose Chances as the project's overview resonated with my situation.

Did you feel supported by your adviser?

I really did. I needed an advocate to give me a boost in the process of finding meaningful and suitable employment. My adviser reminded me I had confidence, and their positivity and encouragement throughout our journey was very catching.

What did the programme bring you?

The programme brought me hope, support, and a space to be listened to.

If you received previous employment support before Chances how do you feel our programme is different and stand out?

I did, and honestly there were very strong parallels that complimented each other really well which highlighted that Chances stands out as a strength in Norwich.

What has been the highlight of your journey with Chances?

My adviser was the highlight. They were exactly what I needed at that point in my life.

You have now left the Chances programme; did you find employment and where?

I did! I am now an Employment Advisor at Norwich and Waveney Mind!

Would you recommend Chances to family and friends?

I would and already have!

Find out more information and find your local Chances adviserFind out more information and find your local Chances adviser

The European Social Fund

The Chances project is receiving up to £2,482.233 of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.

The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. This Project has been supported by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, through the Growing Places Fund and Norfolk Community Foundation through Victory Housing Trust Community Fund.

This Project has been supported by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, through the Growing Places Fund and Norfolk Community Foundation through Victory Housing Trust Community Fund.

The Chances Project Logo
European Social Fund Logo

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:43