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East Northamptonshire Enterprise Centre

Zooming into new opportunities

Unemployed over-50’s move closer into work, despite the coronavirus pandemic, with the support of the Social Enterprise & Community Work programme, delivered by Impactful Governance – Community Interest Company.

Participants in the fully funded programme are gaining valuable insight, experience and developing new skills to create their own social enterprise/charity, or secure paid employment in the community and voluntary sector.

“We help people to realise that they have really valuable skills just waiting to be used. For example, one participant, due to family circumstances, hadn’t had social interaction with another person in over a year.

"By being in a supportive environment with people of a similar age in similar circumstances, her confidence dramatically improved. Using her newfound confidence, she is now making facemasks in the voluntary sector” says Andrew Waite, Chief Executive at Impactful Governance – Community Interest Company.

During the course, participants explore all aspects of community work while working on their CVs, identifying what makes them stand out, preparing for interviews and identifying possible organisations that they might like to work within in the future.

“One participant was made redundant 10 years ago and hadn’t worked since. During the course, we identified that he had autistic characteristics so we were able to support him to consider how he will approach potential employers.

“As a result of these traits, he thinks things through differently, which makes him really creative - a key skill within the sector. Since completing the course, he’s started volunteering with the NHS.”

The Social Enterprise & Community Work programme had delivered the first course for two weeks when the lockdown was announced. To ensure this key training didn’t halt, the team moved the courses onto Zoom.

“Before the pandemic, none of our participants had used Zoom. Our learners are aged between 50 to 80, so we were concerned that they would find the online software difficult to access. After a few technical glitches, all but two learners were online.

“Everyone loved using Zoom. It’s so much more friendly than just a telephone conversation and maintains the programme’s community feel. A benefit of moving the course online is that all of our learners got to learn about video conferencing, which will be a key skill when seeking future employment.”

To find out more about the programme, visit www.ig-cic.org.uk or call 01923 231660.

The Social Enterprise & Community Work programme was funded through SEMLEP’s Community Grants programme. The programme offers VCSE organisation grants between £10,000 to £20,000 to deliver projects that help the hardest to reach communities to get back into work or training.

If you’re interested in applying for funding, you can find out more at www.semlep.com/community-grants/

Zooming into new opportunities    Zooming into new opportunities

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