St Edmunds Society

St Edmunds (known as St-Eds) in Norwich, offers vocational employability skills training to people aged 16-19 years and up to 25 years for those with Education, Health and Care Plans.

Girl learning to tile a wall

St-Eds offers a range of vocational training in construction, bricklaying, hair and beauty, health and social care, catering and hospitality and motor mechanics. Each student is supported by St-Eds Welfare Support Team. The team helps pupils to identify and tackle their individual barriers to learning. St-Eds Careers Advice & Guidance Team helps students find the right career path, including employability days with local businesses. It also support students with Maths and English studies to complement vocational qualifications. St-Ed’s mantra is ‘we never give up on anybody’. This is embodied in the charity’s approach and wide range of support to young people who, without support, would be the furthest from the job market. 

Over the past few years, St-Eds had seen an increase in demand from young people with complex learning and behavioural challenges. This means that they are considered Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET). As a result, St-Eds adapted their programmes to create more accredited hands-on courses and training in trades. They also developed courses that allow young people to join when they need to, rather than having to wait until the start of a new academic year. This means that they are not considered NEET for longer than necessary. 

Sadly, not all young people find school and secondary education a positive experience. Many struggle to even attend regularly and reach the age of 16 with few, if any, qualifications and consequently are unable to secure either employment or a place at a college without the entry requirements necessary. Many come from poor social backgrounds where generational struggles with poverty and a lack of positive role models, is prevalent. At St-Eds we endeavour to provide another way for these young people, by giving them access to training for meaningful vocational qualifications, as well as providing essential welfare and similar support to overcome the obstacles they encounter in their young lives. With the support of our supporters, such as Garfield Weston, we try hard to make sure they have a genuine chance to break the cycle.

St-Eds takes a robust approach to monitoring and evaluating their work. They work with a range of local services and schools, which gave us increased confidence in them. We were impressed that this relatively small charity was a finalist in the 2022 Centre for Social Justice Awards, which recognise charities that are innovative in tackling poverty and exclusion in Britain. 

St-Eds wanted to extend its provision by 10% over the next three years to meet increased need. We were delighted to make a core cost grant towards this aim. 

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