European Social Fund (ESF) case studies - NOW Group - The Verve Project 1

The Verve Project, delivered by NOW Group, supports participants with learning difficulties who need additional support in order to access sustainable paid employment opportunities or sustained voluntary opportunities. The Project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant's story

This participant has a moderate learning difficulty and a lifelong health condition. He hasn't had sustained employment in a long time and in his own words, “no one would ever give me the chance”.

His Employment Officer takes up his story:

As this participant doesn’t drive and struggles with walking we were very restricted to looking for work within the local area. When I first met him he was feeling very low because of his physical health and diagnosis and he said he felt that his life “lacked meaning”. I knew he needed to work on his confidence and self-belief and our weekly meetings would be spent focusing on this as well as looking for work.

He had said he also wanted to broaden his horizons and he decided to start working toward passing his driving test. This helped him realise he was extremely capable and able to engage in further training to develop his skills and life opportunities. This had a huge positive impact on his confidence and self-belief.

Looking for work

He continues:

During one of our regular meetings in a local café we were made aware that they were looking for a part-time kitchen porter and the participant was very keen to find out more. One of the chefs was so helpful and understanding of the participant’s health conditions and he took time to explain the role to him. He was offered an interview for the post and the opportunity of a work trial to see if he felt the role was right for him.

After the work trial the chef emailed us and said,

“I am delighted to say that he got on brilliantly during his trial shift. We feel that his positive attitude and will to work hard will help him fit right in with the kitchen team.”

This opportunity has genuinely changed the participant’s life. He has started his job and says he has had “a fantastic time so far”. He now wants to go on to study at college and work toward becoming a chef. Staff at the café have been extremely supportive and understanding of his needs and, along with his Employment Officer at Verve, continue to support him to progress in his future career.

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