European Social Fund (ESF) case studies - NOW Group - The Verve Project 2

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 had worked for over 20 years with the same employer until he was made redundant when the business closed down. He has a learning difficulty and depression. After losing his job he went on to the Steps to Success programme to get support with job searching. He secured a number of part time jobs but was unable to sustain these for longer than a few months. He joined various Supported Employment Organisations, one of which referred him to NOW Group where he had an Employment Officer to support him in his search to find a job.

His Employment Officer takes up the story:

This participant took on a voluntary job whilst continuing to work with me to complete applications and job search. He had a number of interviews that I supported him with, but unfortunately he was not successful due to having “a lot of nerves” about interviews and having “been out of work for such a long time”. These interviews, however, did help him to develop his confidence and interview skills.

Gaining work

The participant applied for a cleaning position at a local school and did well in his interview. The school were extremely supportive and they were happy to make reasonable adjustments at interview to help him.

His Employment Officer says:

The next morning he called to say he had been offered the job and he was “absolutely delighted”.

He started work with a really positive attitude and was determined to do well, making an instant impression on all the other staff. Colleagues made him feel really welcome and this boosted his self-esteem. They brought in buns at the end of his first week to celebrate him being part of the team and he is now like ‘part of the furniture’ in the school, having settled in so well.

The participant had to organise lifts for his first week at work but he then purchased a car to ensure he could get to his job. This demonstrated how dedicated he was and how much he wanted to keep the position he had worked so hard to obtain.

He is now being supported by the Workable NI programme and is going from strength to strength within his job. He said this has made a huge difference to his quality of life, confidence, social skills and self-esteem.

Related articles

Back to top