What ‘Experience Counts’ is all about
‘At the heart of our success is the time and space we offer people to think about what they want to do next’.
Experience Counts (York) CIC started in October 2016 and delivered the pilot for its first 50 plus programme that month, with support from the NCS in York at the NCS Centre in Colliergate, York. The free programme is aimed at individuals of 50 plus who are unemployed or at risk of unemployment, seeking a return to employment or
a move into volunteering, further training or self-employment. During the past 20 months Experience Counts has delivered and completed 12 programmes across the city with delivery based in Tang Hall (with support from Tang Hall Community Centre) as well as York Centre.
The programme began with an offer of four weekly workshops and was extended to five weekly workshops following evaluations from participants. Across the 12 completed programmes, we have worked with 87 individuals of whom 37 have moved into employment. 25 of these are now engaged in very different roles from their previous employment. Of the 50 individuals not in employment, 23 are volunteering and utilising the opportunity to try out something new which may lead to employment. A further 10 are undertaking training, 6 whilst working or volunteering. 3 individuals are now self-employed. We also have 5 volunteer ambassadors for the programme who support us with talks to current participants and also at Jobs Fairs where they can encourage others to benefit as they have done. We provide support for the volunteering ambassadors too.
Our intention is to help participants to identify their hidden talents and to develop with them a CV which provides evidence of this knowledge and related skills. We also prepare them for both group and individual interviews. But no role play we promise!
We work closely with partners to ensure that, on completing the programme, further relevant support is available. For example, NCS are providing short presentations to participants as part of the programme so that further CV and interview support training can be offered where appropriate. York Learning provide advice on further
training opportunities. We also refer participants onto volunteering opportunities. There has been an increase in referrals (both to Experience Counts and from us with participants’ consent) with partners who focus on wellbeing and social prescribing
Our participants tell us how much they have benefitted from the programme with one person describing the programme as,’ a life changing experience’, and another saying,’ the programme encouraged me not to settle for second best.’
All three of us, Jackie, Julie and Simon gain as much as we share from the programme. Jackie and Julie started Experience Counts because they too were 50 plus and wanted to share their knowledge and skills. We feel privileged to be working with such talented people. Everyone has their own USP (unique selling point) and we work with them to find it and then how to use it to gain employment, self-employment, volunteering, or further training – whatever it is that they seek.
Please look at our website for further quotes from participants and more information on the programme including how to book onto future programmes.