History of CatZero
CatZero was established as a result of the Clipper Round the World Yacht race in 2007/2008. Dave Bertholini initiated a tag team of young people from the Hull area to take part in the Clipper Race. Twelve young people, all NEETs and including care leavers and those involved with the Youth Justice Service, became Ambassadors, two on each leg of the famous race around the world on the Hull and Humber where Skipper, Danny Watson, and race participant, Jim Dick (former global president of Smith and Nephew and founder of the Hull Bondholder Scheme), saw the tremendous difference it made to the motivation, confidence and aspirations of these young people. In the middle of the Atlantic the bold decision was made to take the project to a wider audience in the region and by the time Danny sailed across the finish line, CatZero had been born.
The Initial Programme
CatZero set themselves excessively high targets, to work with 400 young people in three years and to move a minimum of 188 of these into Education, Employment or Training.
Building on Success
January 2012 saw CatZero’s focus change tack and take on a new age group of 18-24 year olds who are classified as long term unemployed. Funded through the JobCentre Plus, a more extensive shore based programme saw a greater focus on gaining practical qualifications, as well as skills such as interview techniques and networking opportunities as well as increased exposure to local employers and business leaders in order to move into positive outcomes.
The principals of engaging with young people in programmes designed to address health, education and personal needs within an educational, supportive and empowering environment brought further expansion of CatZero with programmes delivered in Grimsby, Immingham, Scunthorpe and Goole for young people aged between 16 and 24. Participation and results from these were overwhelmingly positive.
As well as continuing to deliver programmes across the whole Humber region in partnership with the JCP, 2013 once again saw further developments.
CatZero started to work with local businesses to create a programme for young people who wanted to start up their own business. Working in groups and on a one to one basis over 12 weeks, CatZero supported young people to develop the necessary skills to allow them to build their dream into a reality. As part of the Blue Sky Entrepreneur Programme, Young people are introduced to banks, HMRC, accounting, business planning and meet with a range of local business people who can tell them first hand what it is like to work for yourself - the real stories.
Work also started with North and North East Lincolnshire local authorities and local businesses to provide programmes in the Grimsby, Immingham and Scunthorpe areas with a particular focus the most hard to reach young people.
2014 saw programmes continue on both sides of the Humber while work also continued with previous participants searching for new training and employment opportunities.
Once again new partnerships were developed which included programmes in the Beverley area for people aged up to 28, delivered alongside Deflog / TIR Transport. Further programmes are planned for the remainder of 2014 and throughout 2015.
The NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, worked alongside CatZero to run five programmes for young people in Hull, including one specifically for young people in years 9/10 to help prevent them from becoming NEET. Fourteen young people from Archbishop Sentamu benefitted from the CatZero experience, as did 12 year 11 pupils as part of a pre-NEETs programme privately funded by the Sewell Group. The work in Hull was further cemented by the first programme sponsored by a privae individual who has seen first hand the tremendous difference CatZero can make to each indiviudal young person, their families, and the local community.
Following the succes of the 2013 Transition programme, CatZero once again worked with Kelvin school to support year 6 pupils moving from Primary to Secondary education with pupils from previous programmes acting as mentors, and doing a fantastic job.
South of the river saw programmes continue in both the North and North East Lincolnshire areas with the support of both local authorities, local private businesses and individuals as well as the Grimsby Institute and North Lindsey College.
The future remained bright for CatZero in 2015 with a wide variety number of programmes taking place across the whole Humber region including a pilor programme in Barton working with Full Families.
2016 is seeing many changes. While CatZero's primary purpose is to support young people to move into Education, Employment or Training, work is now taking place with the long term unemployed and older people who need to move back into work.
CatZero continues to address the underlying challenges to each young person on an individual basis through a personalised programme, where the young person sets their own targets and in-depth support is provided to achieve these.
CatZero remains an innovative, dynamic and cost-effective solution to the problems associated with unemployed young people in the area, with an exceptionally high rate of success and a sustainable programme for future development.
Here's what others have to say about CatZero:
“I didn’t expect it to be like this but I am really enjoying it” (Wayne, Grimsby, Grimsby Evening Telegraph)
“This young lad appeared shocked by life and had little or should I say no confidence. He had no idea how to communicate with anyone even those of his own age group. Then came CatZero and… he was successful in being offered a place. I have watched as this young lad has blossomed into a young man, I have listened to his stories of what he has done and how he has addressed meetings with various people present. I have had the pleasure of watching as his confidence grew beyond belief and his outlook on life changed so much… I can say without doubt that without CatZero this would not have happened at all.” (report from Grimsby JobCentre on a CatZero Participant)