Laying the foundations for future employment

Alex Williamson | 01.12.14

The LandAid-funded construction workshop at St Eds in Norwich was a hive of activity when Caroline Fraser and me paid a visit on Friday. 

Throughout the centre, young people were enthusiastically painting doors, laying bricks, grouting tiles, dove-tailing joints and soldering pipes as part of its dedicated construction training skills programme. 

Joined on the visit by LandAid trustee Jenny Buck, we were taken on a short tour of the purpose-built centre by CEO Lorraine Bliss and Development Officer Neil Cropper.  

Formerly known as the St Edmunds Society, St Eds provides regular courses for disadvantaged youngsters from some of the city's most deprived areas. The courses help build self esteem, teamwork and a grounding in the realities of employment. A LandAid grant of £35,000 helped St Eds set up the new training centre.

Many of the young people attending the courses come from a background of severe deprivation or have a history of behavioural problems. A significant number have been excluded from school. Lorraine observed that increasing numbers of young people with mental heath issues have been arriving at the centre recently.

Pastoral care is key at St Eds. The centre hosts around 125 young people a week - on average 28 per day - with one tutor or youth worker overseeing five students. Many of the young people go on to work experience placements with Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and other construction companies. For these young people, its the first step on the road to long-term employment.  

The distance they travel from when they arrive at the centre to when they leave is not just transformational, it's inspirational. 

We run a number of charity visits throughout the year. They're a great way for supporters to see first hand the impact their generosity and commitment can have. If you'd like to join us on a charity visit, contact Laureen Walsh.