Frequently asked questions

Who are we?


We are an award-winning social enterprise working with people with learning difficulties and Autism and supporting them into jobs with a future. Our services focus on supporting people into employment, training, transition and volunteering. With our project Verve, we offer quality, accredited training courses that help our participants prepare for independence and the world of work. Our goal is to make a real difference in their lives.




What is project VERVE?


Through our European Social Funded project VERVE, we support people with learning difficulties and autism every step of the way on their journey to employment. We offer accredited training to build up skills and confidence as well as work-place experience and voluntary placements. Our dedicated staff will work with you to help you become job ready and then secure employment in your chosen area.




What can my key worker help me with?


Your key worker will support you with all elements of the recruitment process, from job searching, CV building, completing application forms and helping you to prepare for an interview. We can take the stress out of applying for jobs by speaking to employers on your behalf and attending interviews alongside you.




What if I don’t have the qualifications needed for work?


We offer an extensive package of training courses to help you become job ready. We offer accredited and non-accredited courses. These courses focus on areas of work such as Retail, Catering, Hospitality, Warehousing and ICT, to name a few. We also offer support with Essential Skills training.




Who is eligible to take part in project VERVE?


Project VERVE is designed to support people with a Learning Difficulty or Autism between the ages of 16-64. We can tailor our support to help anyone from school leavers to university graduates.




How long does the programme last?


The programme runs all year long and you can get involved at any stage throughout the year.




Can I get involved and still keep my benefits?


We believe benefits are personal to each individual, and we do not offer specific advice on what you are entitled to claim. However, we can support you to get the best advice from your Department for Communities Work Coach or other qualified benefits experts. This will help you to make an informed decision on how paid employment may impact your benefits.




I’m interest in finding out more. What do I do now?


Just get in touch! We will direct you to our team in your local area, and they will arrange to contact you with more information. Give us a call on 028 9043 6400 or drop us a line to admin@nowgroup.org.




How do I sign up?


Signing up couldn’t be easier! We will organise a quick suitability meeting to ensure the programme is right for you. There is some paperwork to complete, but your assigned key worker will organise this with you as well as completing your induction.




Can I still sign up during lockdown?


Yes. We have adapted our services due to the pandemic and we offer the same support through various online platforms as well as over the phone.




How do I get referred to the service?


You can self-refer. Call the office and ask to speak with an Employment Officer in your area, or send us an email. In normal circumstances, you can call into the NOW Group Head Office for more information.




How many hours per week do I need to commit to on the programme?


There is no minimum amount of hours per week and hours can vary depending on whether you attend our training or social groups.




How will it benefit my son/daughter if they sign on to your service?


We can help support your son/daughter into a job with a future – a paid or voluntary job, a placement or pre-employment training in one of our many academies.




What can my son/daughter expect from working with an Employment Officer (EO)?


An EO will help your son/daughter to complete or improve a CV, then they will offer support with completing application forms and attending interviews. The EO is able to ask for any reasonable adjustments during the interview process. What’s more, your son or daughter will be able to take part in a job club with specific employment-based support, and we offer sessions on areas such as time-management problems, confidence and self esteem. The EO will make any recommendations for training that could benefit individuals and also recommend any social activities that are available.




Do you pay any costs or travel expenses?


No, we do not pay towards any travel expenses or other costs.




Are your services only Belfast Based?


No! The VERVE programme provides support throughout Northern Ireland. We have Employment Officers who deliver the service in Antrim and Newtownabbey, Mid and East Antrim, Lisburn, Mid Ulster, Omagh, Fermanagh, Causeway Coast and Glens, Ards and North Down, Craigavon, Newry and Mourne and, of course, Belfast.




I am attending my local college full time. Can I access your services?


If you are currently enrolled on a full-time course at a local college, or another training organisation, you will not be able to access our support through this programme. If, however, you are due to complete your course soon, please contact us and we can discuss how we may be able to assist you once you have left full-time study.




I am currently in a job, but I am only working a few hours per week. Can I access your services?


If you are interested in increasing your hours, you could join one of our job clubs where you will get support with job searching, updating your CV, assistance with application forms and preparation for interviews.




Is there anything else that the NOW Group offers?


Yes, besides offering support with Employment and Training, we also have a number of social groups that you can get involved in to help you meet new people and improve your confidence.




How do I get more information?


For information on any of our services please give us a call on 028 9043 6400 or drop us a line to admin@nowgroup.org. You can follow us on social media too.




What training do you offer?


We offer accredited and non-accredited training in a number of areas, such as Catering, Admin, Retail, Warehousing, ICT, Money Management, Driving Theory, Pre Employment, and Mental Health. To download more information click here