Meet the Team
Shelagh BrownJob Coach Co-ordinator
I joined MINT at the very start of the project in 2010. With a long background of working in an education environment I have worked with a broad age range of young people starting with pre-school age right through to mainstream education and City College Norwich to the 16 to 25 year olds we currently support.
In my role as Job Coach Co-ordinator I oversee all referrals to MINT and book the first appointments, liaising with families and support agencies. I am also involved in developing employability skills with individuals, and especially enjoy the job coaching aspect of my role and engaging with employers to sustain employment. In addition I am one of the two Team Leaders responsible for the MINT team, and more recently have enjoyed working with our newer members of staff to help them develop their skills.
My life away from MINT is taken up with four lovely grandchildren, swimming and going for long walks in the Norfolk countryside with friends followed by a lazy lunch. I also enjoy cooking for friends and take the opportunity to have long weekends in France as often as I can.
Adam SavvasPre-Employment Co-ordinator
My career in education and training began in 2004 after completing my Honours Degree in Leisure and Hospitality Management. Since this period I have been working with a wide range of young people aged 14-25.
My first role was a Princes’ Trust Team Leader in 2004, where I ran projects based in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and two overseas projects in Romania and France. In 2007 I achieved my PGCE and taught Sport and Fitness at Entry Level 3 and Level 1. I then progressed to Centre Manager for a local training provider in Norwich managing Foundation Learning.
I joined MINT in October 2011 and my current role is Pre-Employment Coordinator which includes supporting young people with barriers or learning difficulties to find sustainable employment. In 2013 MINT was Ofsted inspected and I was observed during an employability session and graded as outstanding alongside the overall MINT provision. My current role involves line managing a small team, overseeing pre-employment provision, delivering workshops based on employability and working in partnership with local and national employers.
I really enjoy the variation of my role and am very lucky to work with a fantastic team of staff and some very hard working young people.
Chelsea BalesEmployment Job Coach
I joined the MINT team in October 2015 after completing my BA Honours Degree in Hospitality and Event Management. During my degree I worked in events for City College Norwich, one role in Conferencing and one as an HE Ambassador. I also volunteered to help young people in the community to prepare for and find employment, particularly with the Norwich for Jobs campaign.
In my third year I wrote my dissertation on how well young people today are prepared for employment throughout every level of education. This work was acknowledged by many local organisations and I even had a chance to talk to the Prime Minister about it.
After discovering my passion for working with young people I found my way to MINT and haven’t looked back. I have been inspired by all of the young people I have met and look forward to every day. I enjoy meeting all of the young people who come into MINT and seeing their confidence grow through the support of our dedicated team.
Outside of work I like to exercise regularly, trying out new classes and new training techniques. I also like to learn new things, which means in my spare time I have learned British Sign Language and am almost a qualified Personal Trainer. I love anything to do with animals and have two dogs and a cat at home.
Sarah BirdEmployment Job Coach
I joined the team at MINT in March 2013 after working in advertising for the past year and a half. Prior to advertising I worked in employment support services as a Personal Adviser helping the unemployed into sustainable employment which I thoroughly enjoyed and found particularly rewarding and challenging. I believe this role has given me the skills to help the young people I see at MINT and the confidence to build links with employers.
My role as an Employment Job Coach at MINT is very varied from supporting young people in their job search to meeting and building relationships with local and national employers. I particularly enjoy the many workshops that we run at MINT as it gives me an opportunity to meet our young people and help them build employability skills to take into the workplace.
Part of my role at MINT is developing work experience and building links with employers in order to offer valuable opportunities to our young people. I particularly enjoy seeing the progression and confidence building in our young people as a result of job coaching and work experience which they can then demonstrate in paid employment.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and going on walks with our young dog Maggie (very mischievous!) I enjoy music and singing, however the team in the office will confirm that I don’t do this very well!
Jan MaddixEmployment Job Coach
Since graduating from my Honours Degree in Sociology in 2008 I have enjoyed supporting people into employment in a variety of roles. Throughout my career I have delivered tailored support ranging from helping school leavers find their very first job to assisting professionals who have been made redundant get back into executive roles. I really enjoy sitting down with someone, identifying their barriers towards employment and putting together an action plan to overcome those barriers. Interview skills is a favourite topic of mine and I particularly like mock interviews.
Since starting work at Mint in June 2017, I have found the opportunity to help the 16 to 25 age group really rewarding and the ability to work really closely with my case list of young people has been invaluable. I also love the team spirit amongst the Mint staff and how everyone helps each other.
Outside of work I love spending time with my daughter. I am also a huge music fan and whilst indie is always my favourite, I really enjoy electronica and hip hop too. I attend far too many gigs and festivals and also have a membership at Cinema City so love catching a film!
Mark AshEmployment Job Coach
I started my working life as a cleaner in a hospital on a care of the elderly ward. Whilst in this job I discovered that I was the world’s worst cleaner. I only lasted in that job as long as I did with the support of the patients, who gave me cleaning tips. However, in that job I also discovered that I enjoyed talking to the patients as I found their lives fascinating. I remember the words my manager spoke to me,’ Mark, talking isn’t cleaning’ so it’s no surprise that I didn’t stay in that job long but it did set me on a career path that has involved working with and supporting people from all backgrounds.
In the dark ages, before the internet and mobile phones, I studied Social Care in College where my favourite placement was working with the Travelling Community, particularly the young people whom were mostly home schooled. Being taught at home gave them quite a lot of time to get up to mischief and my role was to provide ‘activities’ to steer them away from unsociable behaviour. This part of my course was very challenging but I loved it so much l became a youth worker. Youth work in the 1990’s involved running youth clubs and projects to help young people find a safe and fun place to explore social issues. Attempting to cover topics such as relationships, sex and social responsibility with young people in youth clubs taught me a lot, especially about mental toughness. I found working with young people so rewarding I stayed in youth work for 15 years.
Looking for a change in direction, but still supporting people, I started working within drug and alcohol support services in the Probation Service and then in prisons. In the prisons, I would work with inmates who had serious issues around addictions and would support them as they were about to be released into the community. I liked that job but I didn’t like the clang of the heavy iron doors and the seriously heavy key chains so I took a job setting up a new community based drug and alcohol service in Norfolk and this job bought me and my family to Norwich in 2007.
Since moving to Norwich, I have worked with drug users, homeless young people and I am now, happily, working again with young people.
If I’m not at work I can be found trawling through record shops, listening to records or watching movies with my children.
Andrew PlunkettEmployment Job Coach
I joined the MINT team in October 2015, having spent the previous 11 years working with disabled people to find paid work through supported employment in a variety of roles, including Employment Adviser, Job Coach and as a Business Manager. My proudest achievement has been my involvement, alongside City College Norwich, in the successful introduction of Project SEARCH to the UK from its home in the USA. There are now 30 of these Supported Internship programmes across the UK, supporting over 300 young people each year, and it all started here in Norwich. My previous experience was in the retail sector, where I worked for Boots and a local Garden Centre in roles from Photo “Mini-Lab” operator to Floor Manager.
I am a trained and experienced Job Coach, using the TSI (Training in Systematic Instruction) approach to enable young people to learn the tasks needed to complete a job efficiently, effectively and independently. I have a passion for helping people to understand the world of work and then putting this into practice in the workplace. I am looking forward to using my skills at MINT in a variety of ways to make a difference to the lives of the young people we work with.
I am currently studying for a Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training at College, learning lots of new ways of working with young people to enhance their learning experience.
Outside of work I am the lead guitarist in the Dulcet Tones, an Indie/Rock covers band, and I love playing at Festivals. I spend lots of time driving and camping in my VW Campervan, exploring the world with my wife, my two boys and members of a VW Owners club based in Suffolk – including a road trip to the VW factory in Germany, which is the largest car factory in the world! I also enjoy DIY, gardening and trips to the seaside.