A training partnership set up between two Norwich businesses to help unemployed people get back into work has generated an unexpected outcome for one local jobseeker.

When vocational training company sencia. met local Work Programme provider Ingeus to discuss how they could provide services to Ingeus’ customers, they also advised that they had a receptionist vacancy at their Castle Meadow centre. Ingeus customer Maria Gooch fit the bill perfectly and now instead of looking for work, she has her ‘dream job’, and is even able to help other jobseekers on their journey to employment.

“I was out of work for three years before going to Ingeus and so I know how difficult it can be to stay motivated,” said Maria, who is from Sewell Park. “It’s great to see people’s confidence grow with our training and if I can find my dream job, then they can too!

“I was lucky to have access to Ingeus job vacancies that I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise and to have help and support in selling my skills despite not having any relevant work experience. sencia. recognised that I just needed a chance to prove myself, and now here I am. It really is the best job in the world.”

Maria, 28, was a teenage single mum and left school with no qualifications. After spells working in various unsatisfactory jobs she determinedly set out to gain qualifications in administration but despite mastering touch typing, audio typing and a BTEC in Business Administration, her lack of relevant experience was a hurdle when applying for jobs.

With a new CV, interview coaching and a recommendation from Ingeus to apply to sencia., she is now a full time receptionist and administrator. As well as managing the phone system and greeting visitors, she is responsible for handling paperwork, petty cash and the client booking system.

sencia., part of the Employment and Skills Group (Interserve Learning & Employment.), partners with Ingeus in Norwich to deliver vocational training and employability support as part of the government’s Work Programme. Their 18-week skills training programmes give Ingeus jobseekers accredited units and qualifications and work experience in specific sectors such as retail, hospitality, warehousing, care, leisure, tourism and travel. Ingeus’ city centre office in Norwich works with Jobcentre Plus, local employers and a range of specialist partners like sencia. to support long term unemployed people back into work.

Heidi Baxter, Centre Manager for sencia. in Norwich said: “Our partnership with Ingeus is founded on giving local unemployed people the vocational skills that employers really look for, and are aligned with the needs of the local labour market.

“A lot of clients just haven’t been given the opportunity to show their skills in the workplace, so it is great to be able to put this into practice by giving Maria the break she so richly deserves. She is an absolute asset to sencia. and a perfect example of the talented, hardworking people out there looking for work.”