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MPs thank Serco for supporting Norwich young people

Published: 29 Jan 2016

Serco’s facilities management team at Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) Trust has been thanked by Employment Minister, Priti Patel, and Norwich North MP, Chloe Smith for its involvement in the ‘Norwich for Jobs’ Programme at an event to celebrate the initiative’s third anniversary, which took place at the Holiday Inn, Cromer Road, Norwich last Friday, 22 January 2016.

Norwich for Jobs is a voluntary project that aims to reduce the number of young people registered as unemployed within the Norwich area by assisting them to find appropriate work through CV and interview advice, tours of workplaces, work tasters, work experience and apprenticeships.

Chloe Smith MP, who has led and championed the Programme since its inception in 2013, said: "The Norwich for Jobs project is very grateful for Serco's longstanding support and commitment to Norwich young people who most need a chance."

Serco, alongside its NHS colleagues at NNUH, has supported the Programme from the beginning. It is one of a number of local employment initiatives that the company champions in Norfolk, another being the ‘Get into Health’ Programme, which originated at NNUH and operates in conjunction with youth charity, The Prince’s Trust

These schemes have helped many young people to turn their lives around by providing valuable work experience at the hospital, as well as permanent jobs in roles such as ward clerk, health care assistant, housekeeper, cleaner, porter and caterer.

One such example is 21-year-old Sophie Bradfield from Norfolk. Trouble at school and anger management issues led the teenage Sophie to turn to drink and by the age of 15 she had a serious alcohol problem - drinking made her extreme anxiety and regular panic attacks worse, and her self-esteem plummeted. The thought of mixing with new people was terrifying.

Sophie was first referred to The Prince’s Trust for a 12-week personal development course where she slowly started to regain her confidence.  After completing this course, Sophie joined the ‘Get into Health’ Programme at NNUH in October 2015 as part of Serco’s hospital cleaning team.

While at NNUH, Sophie realised that she was capable of mixing with new people, she made new friends and built up an incredible rapport with patients. She commented: “At first I would retreat inside my head when I was around new people, but I slowly began to see my own potential and stopped isolating myself.” 

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Serco offered Sophie a permanent position as a Hospital Domestic Assistant working in NNUH’s main wards and associated patient and public areas. Sophie is gaining new skills and confidence every day. Plus, as her self-belief and self-reliance grows the panic attacks and anxiety have become easier to manage.

Sophie added: “I have come such a long way. Being able to recognise and deal with my panic attacks is a huge thing for me, but a lot of that has been down to the hospital patients I see every day. I’m also a volunteer Beaver leader, which is giving me the chance to help other young people. So many people and organisations have helped me, and I’m just so grateful to have this chance to turn my life around.”

Sophie’s personal achievements were recently recognised in The Prince’s Trust Eastern Region Celebrate Success Awards.

Chris Paul, Serco’s CSR Manager at NNUH commented, “The hidden health and social cost of unemployment and exclusion must never be underestimated. Often people - both young and old - who have faced life’s struggles just need some positive support and encouragement to get back into work. We are incredibly proud to be part of a number of local employment programmes and give individuals the chance to change their lives. By offering support and investing in young people, we have been able to recruit some hidden gems, like Sophie, into the business. As the old adage goes - employ for attitude and train for skills’”.


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