Young people from across Norfolk are looking forward to brighter futures after taking part in the Prince’s Trust TEAM programme run by Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service.
Applications are now open for the next courses, which start in September so people looking for a next step after finishing their GCSEs or A-levels are invited to apply.
You can find out the stories of some of this month’s TEAM graduates here:
Presentations were held this week for graduates of the free 12 week personal development programme, which provides support and allows those aged 16-25 the chance to learn about structure and teamwork during a week-long residential, gain valuable life skills, fundraise for and carry out a community project and complete two weeks of work experience. Travel costs are reimbursed and benefits payments are not affected.
Many of those taking part in the project have low self-esteem and confidence and really benefit from the way the course is run, making friendships for life and going on to further training, employment or voluntary work.
Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service runs the project, which is supported by The College of West Anglia, in Norwich, Dereham and King’s Lynn. Courses run in September, January and May.
William, aged 19 from Attleborough, has just completed the course in Norwich, based at North Earlham Fire Station. He said: “I dropped out of college due to problems with my anxiety and wasn’t doing anything when I was told about the course. The first day I was extremely anxious but also quite excited and TEAM has really given me my confidence back.
“I did a work experience placement in a local charity shop and now I’ve finished TEAM I am going to volunteer at the shop and help with their admin work.”
Lewis, aged 24, from Norwich, was working as a civil engineer but when his company went into liquidation he wasn’t sure what to do next.
“I found out about TEAM from the Job Centre. My confidence was really low by this point as I hadn’t been working. I really enjoyed the programme and the best bit was the residential, which really taught us about working as a team.”
Lewis is starting work as a plasterer following a successful work experience placement.
The latest Norwich course had 12 graduates, with a further 13 at Dereham and 9 at King’s Lynn. Three in four graduates of TEAM go straight on to training or employment.
Presenting the certificates, Norwich MP Clive Lewis said: “This project, and the efforts of these young people, is outstanding and inspirational. I came seven weeks ago and you were a different bunch of people – the change has been dramatic and brilliant. The community project, in particular, is really important, you have really given something back and seen how you can make a difference and I am so proud of you.”
The Prince’s Trust Fire & Rescue Service National Liaison Officer George Martin OBE said: “We get some fantastic support from all around the country and none more so than here in Norfolk. I never fail to be inspired by young people. When our young people succeed, our country succeeds and too many young people are overlooked for employment.
“Fighting fires is a small fraction of what Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service does. Work in the community is really broad. The pillars of all their work are teamwork, respect, motivation, compassion and there are some brilliant role models for young people. Our service brings out the potential in young people. Prince’s Trust programmes are only as good as the partners we work with and you can’t get a better TEAM programme than from this Fire & Rescue Service.
“A lack of experience is a major reason why young people don’t get a job. Yet only 20 per cent of employers will offer work experience places. Thank you to the Norfolk employers that support the project by offering these placements.”
Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “The project highlights how our fire and rescue service goes over and above to provide ongoing and worthwhile projects to build strong communities and support our young people. TEAM is inclusive, provides an excellent grounding for a career and gives young people the skills and self-confidence to succeed.”
If you are aged 16-25 and interested in joining TEAM, find out more here: