YMCA Norfolk is among seven Norfolk youth charities which have announced a major new partnership project which aims to help over 500 young people overcome severe barriers into education, training and employment.
The On Track Partnership include project leaders The Matthew Project, along with partners YMCA Norfolk, ACE, NANSA, Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, Gyros (Great Yarmouth) and The Princes’ Trust.
The group has secured £1.6m in funding from the Building Better Opportunities programme, which is supported by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund, to create a 12-strong team to help transform the lives of around 500 young people and their families.
It is the first time these specialist charities have co-ordinated a partnership approach on such a large scale and the he overarching aim is to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people in Norfolk.
The On Track Partnership delivery will begin in January 2017 to support 16-24 year olds who are ‘furthest from the labour market’ with complex and entrenched barriers to work which prevent them from gaining skills, qualifications and ultimately employment. The partners have been working together for months to achieve this result.
The On Track Partnership will work with existing providers to reach those with moderate or severe special educational need or disabilities, mental health issues, substance misuse issues and anti-social behaviour or criminal activities.
Lead charity, drug and alcohol recovery specialists the Matthew Project, along with the partners, say it is now recruiting part of a 12-strong team in various roles to work alongside young people facing specific barriers to employment, continuing education or training after the age of 16.
YMCA Norfolk CEO, Tim Sweeting, said: “We are delighted to be part of the On Track project. We will be focusing on helping young homeless people to overcome their personal barriers to move into employment, education and training and in so doing helping them to achieve their goals and fulfil their potential.”
Matthew Project CEO, Paul Martin, said: “It is a significant and life-changing project for young people trapped with a poverty of opportunity due to health, addiction and other social problems. On Track will provide a new way out of severe social and economic deprivation which is a great benefit to the whole community, to families and those who will participate.
“Our first focus is on recruiting a brilliant team to turn the plans into a reality. We need young people coaches, admin staff and volunteer mentors. We also need to speak to businesses who want to recruit from a diverse talent pool.
“For the 18-24 age group, the primary aim will be for project participants to enter sustainable employment as quickly as possible.
“The priority for 16-17 year olds who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) is to get them back into education or work-based training.
Youth unemployment has been on the government’s agenda for a while – it’s an exciting opportunity to forge a new approach across Norfolk.” he added.
To find out more about the project and roles visit: www.matthewproject.org