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Networking in Norfolk - IEP

The Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) held their first networking event in the East of England on 18 June in Norwich. Hosted by Broadland Meridian at their historic Rowntree premises, IEP Ambassadors W2W Solutions' own Stephanie Barlow MIEP, and Kate Fitchew-Cattrell AIEP brought together professionals from across the employability sector in Norwich and surrounding areas. The event attracted staff from over 30 organisations including Training for People, Realise Futures, Education & Youth Services, the Barefoot Entrepreneur, Avanta, Christians Against Poverty, and local work clubs; reflecting the diverse nature of organisations working within employability. All of those attending had a shared goal - helping local people into work.

With youth unemployment, welfare reform and the economic downturn impacting on communities across the region, this IEP event aimed to promote closer working among the diverse organisations assisting people to move into employment in Norfolk.

The enthusiasm to share information and work collaboratively, created a genuine sense of community at the event - from the Showcase of information about the work of each organisation, through to sharing ideas and practical resources to better support customers.

  • Tom Adams of JCP briefed the audience on local project, Norwich for Jobs, which seeks to equip young people with employability skills before helping them into employment. Launched by Chloe Smith MP in February, the partnership model between JCP, businesses, employability and training providers is a first for the UK.
  • Mark Surridge from Jobcentre Plus provided a quick overview of how the universal credit will change the way benefits system works and the impact on practitioners and their customers.  
  • Robert Ashton, local entrepreneur, best- selling author and founder of swarm apprenticeships delivered a thought-provoking talk on the need to help young people into work.  In another first for the UK, swarm uses a unique model to bring together groups of employers and apprentices, working in partnership with sponsors and stakeholders to train young people in a new qualification - SFEDI Awards Level 3 Diploma in ‘Enterprising Skills in a Business Environment’. Young people learn the realities of business and accept the challenge of earning their keep. 

The IEP team were on hand to highlight the purpose and benefits of the Institute and signed up a number of new members at the event.  

Links made at the event have already inspired an unofficial twinning between Norwich and Wembley, with Faith Regen Foundation being inspired to spearhead their own local jobs project. It seems that Norfolk is leading the way when it comes to helping it’s young people into work through innovative projects that are making a real difference. 

For more information on the above visit:

19 June 2013


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