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Norfolk County Council’s Boost project to help young people with skills in West Norfolk





Young people in West Norfolk are being offered an exciting opportunity to develop skills they need for the future thanks to a council-run scheme.

Those aged between 16-30 in the area can benefit from the Boost project, run by Norfolk County Council, from Monday (April 1).

It has been helping young people in Lynn into training and employment as part of the Town Deal project, funded by the Towns Fund.

The Boost project will be coming to Hunstanton. Picture: West Norfolk Council
The Boost project will be coming to Hunstanton. Picture: West Norfolk Council

Now, thanks to UK Shared Prosperity Funding of £147,049, young people across the borough will be able to access the project’s services - which include employment support, advice, and training, working alongside the West Norfolk Training Grants scheme.

The Boost project team will be working with two different cohorts of young people; 16-30-year-olds in employment and looking to gain new skills, and young people aged 16-30 who are out of work and looking for employment.

Open to young people living, working, or studying in West Norfolk, the scheme builds on its previous success which saw the team work with more than 500 people aged 15-30 in Lynn to gain skills, knowledge, and advice.

The Boost project will be coming to Hunstanton. Picture: West Norfolk Council
The Boost project will be coming to Hunstanton. Picture: West Norfolk Council

The project team will also be working with employers in the borough, providing grants to businesses to help train employees aged 16-30, so that they can gain new skills and consolidate their experience into qualifications that they may not have.

Louisa Kiddell, skills partnership project manager at the county council, said: “We are thrilled to now be able to offer Boost’s services to young people across the whole of West Norfolk, allowing us to work with 16-30 year-olds so that they can get new skills, build their confidence, access opportunities, and fulfil their ambitions.

“We have seen the impact that the Boost project has made in Lynn where we’ve been able to support more than 300 young people to begin an activity, get employability support, take part in training, or start a new job.

“We’re also looking forward to working with employers across West Norfolk, helping to upskill young people in their workforce, and tap into the expertise and experience of businesses to support young people.

The Boost project will be coming to Downham. Picture: West Norfolk Council
The Boost project will be coming to Downham. Picture: West Norfolk Council

“I would urge anyone who is interested in finding out more about the difference that Boost can make – a young person or an employer in West Norfolk – to please get in touch.”

The type of support offered to young people could include activities such as digital and cyber security training, construction CSCS cards, and work experience.

Training, such as management, forklift, and digital programmes, are just some of the programmes that could be provided to those in employment.

The Boost project will be coming to Hunstanton. Picture: West Norfolk Council
The Boost project will be coming to Hunstanton. Picture: West Norfolk Council

The Boost team is also looking for West Norfolk employers to help young people by giving a career talk, tour of their business or work experience.

Terry Parish, the leader of West Norfolk Council and lead member for skills, said: “The expansion of the Boost project offers a fantastic opportunity for young people in West Norfolk to get the skills and support they need.

“The cabinet decided to commit to the project’s continuation and expansion through UK Shared Prosperity Funding because by extending the project across West Norfolk, we can maximise Boost’s reach to benefit residents across the borough.

The Boost project will be coming to Downham. Picture: West Norfolk Council
The Boost project will be coming to Downham. Picture: West Norfolk Council

“Boost reflects the UK Shared Prosperity Funding objectives for West Norfolk, to build pride in place, facilitate high quality skills training, support pay, employment, and productivity growth, and increase life chances.

“Whether in employment or out of work, through Boost, young people can get targeted support that will assist them to progress in the direction they want in employment, education, or volunteering.

“The project will also create connections with employers in West Norfolk, allowing businesses to upskill and develop their staff.

The Boost project will be coming to Hunstanton. Picture: West Norfolk Council
The Boost project will be coming to Hunstanton. Picture: West Norfolk Council

If you are a young person or an employer in West Norfolk that would like to find out more about how Boost can help, get in touch with the team at boost@norfolk.gov.uk

One example of the scheme in practice saw a participant take part in the Young Futures Earth Programme from Green Light Trust, which is aimed at those aspiring to improve their prospects and overcome challenges.

After the first session, they said: “This is something I had never thought about before and I absolutely loved my first day, I didn’t realise I would be allowed to light the fire and cook on it.

The Boost project will be coming to Downham. Picture: West Norfolk Council
The Boost project will be coming to Downham. Picture: West Norfolk Council

“I can’t wait to come back next week.”

As a result of anxiety and other mental health challenges, another participant found it difficult to leave the house every day.

The Boost team was able to give that young person support and identified an online course in social care. Since finishing the confidence-building course, the young person has applied for two apprenticeships.

A participant the Boost team worked with was volunteering but their goal was to find paid work.

They were given help with applications and with mock interviews which helped with the young person’s confidence. They began to apply for jobs – and has now got paid work in housekeeping.

Another person involved wanted to find their first role in their chosen field, but found it to be an uphill battle with many employers wanting more experience.

After a number of mock interviews their confidence grew, and even after a few rejections they carried on. They recently were made a provisional job offer for a role, following a successful initial assessment and interview.

A spokesperson from Lynn-based Arbortec said: “We are a small niche manufacturer of chainsaw protective clothing and apparel…the margins were not there to provide a lot of training, especially for younger people entering the business.

“This meant that some of our staff kept stagnating in their development, which had been identified in our company strategic plans as one of the roadblocks to growth.

“The way the support is provided is brilliant, there are not a lot of hoops to jump through and the process is straightforward. From our point of view, this scheme is absolutely brilliant.”

A College of West Anglia spokesperson said: “The College of West Anglia has worked in partnership with the Boost team since the project began in 2022.

“The support offered by Boost has played a significant role in supporting our students that are struggling to be at college, are disengaging from education and/or at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).

“A weekly drop-in session at the Lynn campus offers face-to-face appointments to our students with the Boost team.

“One student told us: ‘I was nervous about my meeting, but they were really nice and helped me. I don’t think I would have gone to the meeting if it hadn’t been here’.

“The support offered by Boost is individualised to meet the person’s needs and has had a positive impact on young people within the local area. Feedback from students accessing support and parents/guardians is always positive.”



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