CatZero CatZero

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

The Wilberforce Youth Development programme was the first in a portfolio of initiatives developed to help young people through sailing-related experiences. Each programme ran for up to 12 weeks, including 10 days at sea, for young people from Hull aged 16-18 in the NEET category. The programme took young people out of their “comfort zone” and challenged them to identify and, with support, address their issues.

The programme incorporated sailing within a diverse and comprehensive range of accredited skills developments, promoting healthy lifestyles and engaging young people within a learning environment.

The programme offered a comprehensive support package to NEETs focusing on self-review, target setting and destination planning with an intensive insight to what is available locally to meet their health, education, training and employment needs. Each group of YP set their own code of conduct during a 24 hour introduction session where staff worked with them, supporting them to analyse their needs, set targets and set actions enabling them to move from their current position in to a positive process.

The programme culminated in each participant being given an opportunity to work alongside local business people and training providers during a ten day sail on board CatZero. This is very useful for placing people in a challenging environment to show themselves and others how they perform.

Throughout the programme the YP had regular progression meetings, which included developing CVs, interview preparation sessions, mock interviews with business partners and were put forward to appropriate provision within employment, education and/or training opportunities.

Following completion of the programme the YP are actively encouraged to remain in contact with CatZero and are offered continued support in their search for positive outcomes.

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.

Over the 3 years, CatZero overachieved on their ambitious targets. A staggering 416 young people participated on the WNF funded programme, and CatZero can boast a 70% success rate with 288 of these young people going into further education, employment or training. Upon completing the programme the door remains open and CatZero’s continue to work with all young people, supporting their endeavours in finding productive pathways.

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.

CatZero also started to work with local businesses to create a programme for people who wanted to start up their own business.  Working in groups and on a one to one basis, CatZero supported young people to develop the necessary skills to allow them to build their dream into a reality.

Work also started with North and North East Lincolnshire local authorities and local businesses to provide programmes in the Grimsby, Immingham and Scunthorpe areas as well as programmes being developed in the East Riding and specialist programmes being developed with local primary and secondary schools.

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 person on an individual basis through a personalised programme, where the participant 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 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)

“At the start, nobody was really motivated, everyone was sick of the jobcentre and sick of putting CV’s out… but now everyone’s more confident” (Rachel, Speaking to Yorkshire Post)

“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)

Working with Catzero “appealed to the JobCentre Plus because it offers creative and innovative solutions… to help our customers move from their current position towards employment” (Jo Corney, Senior Operations Manager JCP, Speaking to Grimsby Evening Telegraph)

"I saw CatZero advertised at the JobCentre, The course took me out of my comfort zone, but I managed to get through. It has boosted my confidence and helped me sort out my CV. I have been on other courses but none have engaged me like this one." (Luke Williams, former CatZero participant, speaking to Grimsby Telegraph)