Cognitive Behavioural Group Coaching for Long-Term Unemployed Yields Results

From May-July 2022, Voluntary Norfolk piloted an eight week group coaching programme for long-term unemployed people. The programme had the objective of helping participants to (re-)discover their career goals, tackle fear of failure, increase self-confidence and improve their wellbeing, in order to take first positive steps towards the labour market.

Run by certified life coach Dr Verena Niyadurupola, the course followed a cognitive behavioural coaching approach. Over eight light, friendly and interactive sessions in combination with targeted 1:1 support, attendees learned how to become aware and take control of their inner dialogue and rediscover their personal strengths. We also taught participants basic (self-)coaching skills and matched them up as peer mentors for follow-up support beyond the programme duration, to ensure sustainable outcomes.

70% of the nine participants who started the course, had mental health issues. Half of these also experiencing physical health issues. No one dropped out prematurely. By the end, 90% of participants reported that taking part had made a positive change to their lives. 86% of respondents of the final evaluation showed an improvement in wellbeing, self-confidence, and reduced fear of failure.

At the end of the course, 78% of participants either started actively applying for jobs, volunteering, or taking up formal vocational education.

Voluntary Norfolk’s Employment and Skills team has a strong track record of getting people back into work. Of the 652 people we supported last year, 27% returned to work within 3 months. Among our long-term unemployed clients, we successfully helped 22% return to work. A comparable, £2.9bn DWP programme saw only 7% return to work.

Some Feedback

“I’m glad I’ve done it. Fresh eyes on my situation have helped me more than expected. Incl. showing what I’m already doing, which was a big surprise for me. Also the self-help tools are helping, as did the 1:1 session.”

“I have been given access to things about myself I didn’t know existed, that, as it turns out, I rather like.”

“From feeling like being in a net to feeling more confident to move out of it – not least because some of the methods needed to move forward, I was already doing but hadn’t registered them in my own mind!”

“I am able to try to think logically more often, and comfort the emotional part of me when it is distressed.”

“I now feel more confident in myself to put myself into an unknown situation and realised the anxiety becomes less.”

“Yes it has helped with my confidence and made me feel more relaxed.”