Chris, aged 30 – on an Employment Support project, 2019

Please provide background information in relation to the participant?

Chris admits he was a bit of a loner and he found it hard to make friends, it initially took a real big effort for Chris to even meet someone from the ACE Team. Previously, Chris had not worked and for the past 8 years had spent most of his time in his bedroom or helping his disabled Dad. He did do some work but the jobs never seem to last, this was mainly due to lack of confidence which got him down. He was very low confidence, did not like meeting new people or being out in busy places or large groups

How did you hear about ACE and why did you sign up to the project?

Chris said “I heard about a Engineering / Mechanics course which ACE was running initially, the lady at the Job Centre knew I was interested in cars and told me that ACE we very patient and understanding when it comes to building relationships with, and supporting, people who had previously not been able to get out of the house. Veronica from ACE gave me a call, she was friendly and sounded kind so we met up, no pressure, she explained about how ACE worked and that they were running Access to Engineering and Mechanic course, funded by Norfolk Community College. I soon felt at ease with Veronica and the hook also was my interest in cars, so with Veronica’s help for the first time in many years, I was coming out and learning and meeting new people, scary stuff.”

What did you do at ACE?

Chris says “I attended the access to engineering and mechanics course, this was made up of practical sessions in the workshop, employer talks and visits to employers. I was really quiet and nervous but John (the Engineering Tutor) and the other ACE staff were all friendly, and of course Veronica checked in to make sure I was ok. I enjoyed it all, I learnt that there was so much more to engineering and mechanics than just cars, the talk by the owner of a metal fabrication company was interesting and I was able to have a look round their workshops and see a different side of engineering. I enjoyed the practical elements the most, John was very knowledgeable and gave us a real insight into the world of working in mechanics and engineering. After the first few sessions I enjoyed getting out and found myself looking forward to going to ACE.

What have you achieved since starting on the project?

“I have learnt a lot about myself, I did start a Motor Vehicle course at NTS when I left school but never completed, I had no confidence in my ability and was very shy so I just withdrew, there was not the same support back then. After completing the Access to…. Course at ACE I enrolled in further training / qualifications and completed Progression Award and Level 1 Award in Skills for Motor Vehicle. While doing this the staff at ACE noticed I was good at helping others who were on the course, John suggested that I may like to do some work experience as an LSA, helping some of the SEN students who were studying Engineering. I was very nervous and felt like I would not be able to do it, but with the help of the ACE team I braved the storm and soon started to enjoy it. Then following on from that ACE offered me a part time job as a sessional LSA. So, I now help set up the workshop and clean down, read and scribe for the young people and support them with practical activities.”

Do you feel that coming to ACE changed you?

“Most definitely, I still struggle with my confidence and self-belief and I have to work hard at getting out, but it’s really improved. There is no pressure on me and help is always there, whether it’s a listening ear, practical help or a smiley face, I know I’m part of a team. My life now has purpose and a reason to get out of my bedroom. I am also studying part time so I can catch up on the time I missed in previous years.”

Would you recommend ACE to others?


Why? Because it is life changing.

On a more practical note, what I would recommend to others is the practical elements of the course,  from when I was at school I had always wanted to be a mechanic,  the access to course made me realise there are 100’s of jobs I could look at and not just working in a garage. Now look at me I’m a LSA supporting children and young people to follow their dreams.”


PARTICIPANT “K – aged 37” – on our Life Ladder adult support project, 2020

Please provide background information in relation to the participant? What barriers did they face etc?

K was referred to us through a local primary school as someone needing extra support with a variety of issues from using technology, helping with the kids and support with confidence building, to better Maths and English skills. She has four children (two in high school, one at the primary school who referred her and a boisterous two-year-old). Her husband was unemployed at the time and struggling with mental health.

What, in terms, of support did the project provide to assist the participant on their journey?

As well as providing some basic functional skills training, ACE were able to provide support to help K tackle her housing issues and put her in touch with a sleep clinic to help with the night time difficulties that Child B was experiencing. We helped complete the numerous and complex forms that enabled her to access the various advice services to help her move forward.

What were the original goals for the participant?

K was struggling with multiple issues, which she found overwhelming. She wanted to increase her functional skills (maths and English), help cope with complex family issues with Child B and develop her confidence using her mobile phone.

What has the participant achieved since starting on the project? (Moved into employment education or training, have they exceeded the original goal)

Developed confidence in her abilities, deals better with family issues regarding Child B and has confidence in sending texts and email from her phone, especially after discovering the ease of asking Siri for the correct spelling of words she wasn’t confident with.

How have you seen the participant grow in terms of confidence, personal development?

K is now able to tackle problems as they arise more easily, rather than letting things overwhelm her. She is also able to ask for help where required, or to know where to go for signposting to other agencies.

Have there been any additional benefits to the participant other than the recorded outputs and results?

Providing a liaison service between K, her son and the school, some other issues were addressed, such as the separation anxiety her son was suffering at school drop off time, which was causing unauthorised absences and fuelling the sleeping problems. By going round and walking with mum but with us taking him into his class he gradually developed confidence and is now able to go in regularly.