A project supported by Norse to help young people with learning difficulties into work is celebrating another successful year, with several graduates from the ‘Class of 2018’ already securing paid employment.

People with learning difficulties suffer very high levels of unemployment, (with just six per cent in work nationally) but those who join Project Search, led by City College Norwich and supported by a range of businesses including Norse, the figure for those in work rises to around 60%.

Nine young people who have spent a year with Norse Commercial Services being prepared for the world of work, have just celebrated the end of the course with three already in work and hopes are high others will quickly follow in a range of fields such as catering, cleaning and grounds maintenance.

Course leader, Michele Claxton, said:

“We see an enormous change in our students during the academic year in which they are immersed in new surroundings. By the end, we have a group of young people fully equipped with the skills and confidence to enter the world of work.

A number of our young people who have worked from our base at Norse already have a job or have job interviews lined up and I’m confident that everyone who has graduated will be successful in their search of work in the near future. We couldn’t do this without the support of Norse whose staff put in a great deal of effort supporting our students to develop their work skills.”

Norse Group HR Director, Tricia Fuller, said:

“The young people who join us in September are radically different to the ones who leave us in the summer and I’m delighted we are able to help so many of them on the way to becoming independent young adults. This is the eighth year we have been able to help Project Search and I see this as a key part of our efforts to support the local community.

We couldn’t do this without the support and encouragement of our staff in a variety of areas including catering, HR administration and Norwich’s parks. I know many of our group have particularly valued playing a part in keeping places such as Eaton Park and Heigham Park in tip-top condition.”

Daniel Lord, 23, from Wymondham, was recently offered a part-time cleaning job with Norse at County Hall in Norwich after a successful job interview.

He said:

“I enjoyed working at Eaton Park and at Interprint and I’ve just started my new job in the evenings at County Hall. I really enjoyed the course. I was a bit nervous when I went for the interview, but I felt great when I found out I had got the job.”

There are two Project Search courses run by City College Norwich each year – the other operates out of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. All places for September are already full, but applications for 2019-20 open in February.

*Eight of the nine Project Search graduates are pictured above standing outside Norse’s HQ in Fifers Lane along with Michele Claxton, seated third from left, and Tricia Fuller, Norse Group HR Director second from left. A ninth student was unable to attend because he had just begun a role with Bernard Matthews in the company’s quality control department.