Connecting Choices


Connecting Choices

Opening doors to opportunity by breaking down barriers into training, education, volunteering and work.


We're here to help you if you are 16+, unemployed or inactive, an ex-offender or living with a disability or learning difficulty and need.


We support disadvantaged people by breaking down barriers and providing needs-based support to assist you into training, education, volunteering and work. We provide support in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-Under-Lyme and the Staffordshire Moorlands areas, and Essex in the South.


We'll help you with:

Development of employability skills through volunteer placements, interview skills, CV writing, development of digital skills
Person-centred support that is needs-based, individual to you where you can relax and be yourself without any judgement
Social inclusion through community activities, joining clubs and group activities with other participants who are breaking down barriers, online inclusion through digital skills
Developing a positive mindset by helping you overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, low-confidence in a no-pressure environment and help you manage your money better


We also provide support with childcare.


For further information, to join the programme or to recommend a participant please contact:

Joanne McKechnie: 07850 775035 (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire Moorlands, Newcastle-Under-Lyme)

Guy Griffiths: 07850 774662 (Essex)


Connecting Choices Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and Newcastle-Under-Lyme


Connecting Choices Essex


How does it work?

No 'one size fits all approach'

Personal coaches meet with you and create a programme based on your individual needs with no deadlines. Activities might include (depending on the area):

Coaching: problem solving, decision-making, coping strategies and health condition management; resilience; employability skills; careers guidance to develop realistic job goals; CV creation/tailoring; employer expectations.
Training: communication, employability skills, workplace behaviours; access to accredited training to address skills gaps including Basic Skills, ESOL; discretionary budget for certificated training/development activity not available elsewhere to raise aspiration.
Digital skills sessions and workshops offered to all participants from hardest-to-help groups including NEETs, 50+, ethnic minority groups. (Stoke and surrounding  area only)
Job search: skills development 1:1/group workshops, assistance and support with applications and interview preparation
Criminal convictions: declaring your criminal convictions to employers and understanding your rights and legislation (Essex area only)
Personal development: health & wellbeing 1:1/group sessions, including community sports, cycling/walking projects, substance misuse interventions.
Financial inclusion workshops and webinars: understanding/accessing credit; Better Off Calculation to ascertain viable hours/earnings and Universal Credit conditionality thresholds; gambling/debt advice; money management; access to support via National Debt line, Money Advice Service and local partners. (Stoke and surrounding area only)
Self-employment: IAG via Ixion’s Develop/Grow Your Enterprise programmes.
Signposting/advocacy with existing services e.g. health, housing; use of our Childcare Database; making/attending appointments e.g. for substance misuse support, with joint working to boost confidence and engagement with local services.
Specialist support: specialist partners provide specialist interventions to breakdown most complex needs
Volunteering and work placements: to build skills including tasters to inform career guidance and supported placements with volunteer mentors, tailored to meet participant needs e.g. people with disabilities, ESOL needs, women.
Into-work transition: action planning and one month’s practical support to promote sustainability including childcare.


  • Stoke-On-Trent & Staffordshire:

For our local website (CLICK HERE)


  • Essex

For our local website (CLICK HERE)