Project launched to support care experienced young people
14 October 2021
A project to help care experienced young people in Norfolk get into work and education is being launched in Norwich next week by Olympian Kriss Akabusi MBE.
Project Mackenzie will provide the group of 20 young people, aged between 16 and 19, who are either in care or who are now moving beyond care, with a tailormade four-week programme to develop their skills and support them into employment or education.
This potentially life changing initiative will be delivered in partnership between Norfolk County Council’s Virtual School for Children in Care and Previously in Care and The Akabusi Company.
Kriss Akabusi MBE, who is care experienced himself, is an Olympian, media personality, professional keynote speaker and life coach and is well known for his big laugh!
He said: "I’m delighted to be working in partnership with The Virtual School for Children in Care to bring Project Mackenzie to Norfolk. The young people who take part in the project will have the opportunity to meet with local employers and have access to expert training across a variety of areas. It’s wonderful to see businesses come together to inspire and invest in the next generation."
“When I was a growing up in the care system, meeting someone like Sgt Mackenzie quite literally changed my life. To have someone identify and nurture potential in me, helped me go after my dreams with passion, pride and a can-do attitude.”
Cllr John Fisher, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “This is an exciting project and a great opportunity for our care experienced young people to learn valuable skills to help prepare them for work, training or further education."
“This exciting programme will allow them to explore different pathways. Over the four weeks not only will they get to engage with Kriss Akabusi and his team, but they will get input form a wide range of workshop providers."
“Ultimately they will get the opportunity to develop their employability skills and boost their confidence and gain valuable hands-on work experience."
“The most important thing is that we will be making sure they feel fully supported throughout the programme to make the most of this opportunity and we will continue to provide support afterwards.”
Project Mackenzie was first run as a partnership between The Grand Union Housing Group and The Akabusi Company in 2013 and has since helped a total of eight groups of young people in a number of different local authorities.
The project came to the attention of Norfolk County Council following Kriss’s keynote presentation at the Small Steps, Big Changes Conference which was hosted by our Virtual School for Children in Care and Previously in Care in February this year.
The programme will run in November and will include opportunities for the group of young people to meet with local employers and training providers. In addition, they will receive specialist advice on areas including money management, safe social media, CV writing and interview skills.