Chloe Smith MP of Norwich North has been shortlisted under the Business Driver category for the 2nd Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises UK-based politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. The MP has been nominated for driving the Norwich For Jobs campaign, which seeks to halve Norwich’s youth unemployment in two years.  

Ms Smith conceived and designed the idea, bringing together a team from local firms to the Chambers of Commerce and charities to create jobs for young people. Since its launch in January 2013, Norwich For Jobs has directly brought about over 400 jobs and apprenticeships for Norwich young people by providing businesses with the confidence to open jobs and breaking the stereotype of the “lazy” youth on Jobseeker’s Allowance. Norwich for Jobs has directly contributed to Norwich Youth Unemployment decreasing by 15% so far. In 10 months since its initiation, Ms Smith has received 700 job pledges from 65 local firms which out 320 young people into paid work.

The active inclusion of young people has also been a driver to making this campaign a success. The MP formed a ‘young people’s panel’, which helps keeps the project on track through peer-to-peer assessment of their personal situation. So far, her team have worked with businesses that are willing to offer young people chances, including those who have physical and mental health problems, and those who are ex-offenders. The project is working hard to ensure that no young unemployed people in Norwich are forgotten or left without a voice. 

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “The award illustrates that we do have government representatives that actively work on meeting the people’s needs and we must focus on bringing more positive role models into society and diminish negative news - that is the grassroot diplomacy way”.  

The launch has been so successful that other boroughs including Tower Hamlets and Ipswich have emulated Ms Smith’s networking model. She is now aiming to run the campaign for two years, helping get 1,000 more young people working in Norwich by January 2015.

Join Chloe Smith MP and other government nominees at The Mayfair Hotel, London on Thursday 15th May 2014 where the awards ceremony will be hosted by TV Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. For ticket information please visit: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/awards.

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