ACE - How it all started

Action Community Enterprises CIC (better known as ACE) are a specialist education provider who has been delivering quality vocational training and alternative education since 2011. ACE is a not for profit Social Enterprise operating under the legal structure of a Community Interest Company (CIC)

ACE were set up as a Community Interest Company by Louise Gardiner, who is passionate about education being accessible to everyone, no matter what barriers may be present. Her passion for this is rooted in her own struggles in school due to undiagnosed dyslexia, which she did not allow to hold her back and, with specialist support, went on to successfully finish her education as an adult. She has since gone on to complete a master’s degree in 2017 in Education and Leadership (Specialist Educational Needs)



We provide support programmes and qualifications for young people and adults who need additional and individualised help to achieve their maximum potential, by helping them to progress into further education, apprenticeships or employment. We believe learning should be available to everyone; especially those that are not traditionally ‘classroom shaped’ and for whom mainstream learning may not be an option, often due to issues such as mental health problems, social exclusion or special educational needs.

ACE currently work with a wide range of schools, colleges, employers, statutory and community organisations locally to identify and support children, young people and adults across Norfolk. Our training centre is based in Rackheath, just outside Norwich, where we provide nationally recognised qualifications up to level 2 in a range of subjects including: English and Maths, Construction, Engineering & Mechanics, Catering, Tourism & Hospitality, Care & Childcare, amongst others. ACE works in partnership with schools/colleges (for young people) or referral agencies such as the Job Centres and homeless hostels (for adults) to ensure that support is coherent and consistent. We focus on confidence building, employability skills and social inclusion, as well as delivering practical skills and accredited qualifications. We have a wide range of local employers that are willing to engage with our learners, providing opportunities and practical experience in a variety of industries, during or after their time at ACE. This style of individualised support is proving to be highly successful with young people and adults alike in achieving their personal goals, such as progressing into further education, training or employment.

As Richard Branson says, “If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you should not be in business – it’s that simple”