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Boost project set to help more young people in West Norfolk

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A project that has supported more than 400 15-30 year olds in Lynn to gain skills, knowledge, and advice is set to work with even more young people across West Norfolk after government funding was secured for its continuation.The project, which is currently funded up until March by the Towns Fund, is helping young people living, working, and studying in the town so that they can access new employment, learning, and volunteering opportunities.West Norfolk Shared Prosperity Funding will allow the project to build on its success to date and extend its offer to the whole of the district from April.

College of West Anglia students gave Boost a fresh name and logo in April last year. Picture: Paul Tibbs

The Boost project, which began operating in 2022, will continue into 2025 following a borough council award of £147,049 UK Shared Prosperity Funding as part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Agenda.Since its inception, Boost has made a significant impact in Lynn with over 400 young people registering with the project to date, of which 300 have entered an activity, employability support, training, or started new jobs.This includes 131 unemployed individuals who have been supported so far, 40 of these have been assessed as job-ready, with 35 now in employment, and others volunteering or completed work experience.The Boost team works with young people aged 16-18 at risk of NEET (not in education, employment, or training) and social isolation, young people aged 18-24 who are unemployed, and those in employment from age 18-30 who are in low-skilled and unskilled roles.A priority for the team is helping young people to overcome the barriers that may be standing in their way as Louisa Kiddell, Skills Partnership project manager from Norfolk County Council – which is delivering the project – explained.“It has been fantastic to see the young people who we have been working with gain the skills and confidence that allow them to move on to employment or education or other fulfilling activities that make a difference in their lives,” she said.“We know from working with the young people that there are some challenges that they face in getting the skills and employment they want, for example, around mental health. We have also been supporting young people who have a disability declared to access the opportunities they want.“What has been key for us has been understanding what the young people need, offering the right support, and working closely with the participants so that they can achieve the goals they set out for themselves.”Young people are referred through stakeholders, partners, schools, and supporting services, including DWP, College of West Anglia (which has worked in partnership with the Boost team since the project began), and their employers, or they can self-refer directly through https://forms.office.com/r/WB51XkNZDaSpecifically, the support offered has included activities such as confidence building, digital and cyber security training, construction CSCS cards, and work experience, along with 1-2-1 assistance to help young people attend training and support sessions.Councillor Terry Parish, leader of the West Norfolk Council and lead member for skills, said: “We have already seen the difference that the Boost project has made for young people in Lynn, and it’s great that the project will be extended throughout West Norfolk into 2025.“It means that the project can work with young people across the whole district, including assisting unemployed people up to the age of 30 with employability support and connect them with employers.“Boost will also be able to engage with more local employers in upskilling their staff, improving the local skills offer, and working alongside the West Norfolk Training Grant scheme.“If you are a young person or a business then please do get in touch.”The Boost team has been working with a variety of employers across the area, such as Greenyard Frozen, and including the more niche businesses such as Arbortec Forestwear, and Sensient Industrial Colors to upskill their existing young workforce. The team is looking to engage with more local employers in upskilling their staff.Training, such as management, forklift, and digital programmes are just some of the training programmes that have been provided to those in employment.David Pomfret, chair of the King’s Lynn Town Deal Board Skills Group, said: “It is fantastic to see the impact that the Boost project is having, providing the support that young people need to access opportunities and achieve the things they want.“This project is important because from our consultation and engagement, the board understands and recognises the challenges that young people may face in being able to move into employment and education.“One of our themes is around innovation and business growth through a skilled workforce, and Boost is certainly helping to achieve this by providing crucial support to young people, and by creating meaningful connections with employers.“It is great news that the project will continue and extend its reach from 2024 – 2025, which is truly testament to the success of Boost in the town.”Businesses that would like to get involved with the scheme to support a young person in Lynn, or from the whole of West Norfolk from 1st April 2024, can get in touch with the team via boost@norfolk.gov.ukReporting by Toma Toricina

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