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Council scheme helps Swansea people back into work and volunteering

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Swansea workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic have been given new hope thanks to a Swansea Council back-to-work scheme.

More than 200 people have been helped by Swansea Workways+ Short Term Unemployed project in the past 15 months.

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Over 100 of them are now back in work – others are completing training or volunteering.

Council cabinet member Alyson Pugh said: “We want to improve peoples’ lives – and that’s just what this project is doing.

“The pandemic has brought challenges, including the loss of jobs so our short term unemployed project can be a big help.

“As Swansea leads the way out of the pandemic, I’m pleased that we can help our communities in this way.”

The Swansea Workways+ short term unemployed project offers training and employment support opportunities to unemployed citizens aged over 25. 

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Backed by £1.2m of EU funds, the project is been supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.  
 
Support includes helping people search for jobs, develop their CVs, access funded training and qualifications, build their confidence, develop interview skills, access work experience and introduce people to potential employers.  
 
Hugh Blackwood (pictured top), aged 56, Southgate Swansea, used the project to find new work at construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall.

He said: “I was made redundant due to Covid19 and, although I had a wide range of experience in the military and in retail, finding full-time work was a challenge. 

“Officers at the short term unemployed project, with support of the council’s Beyond Bricks and Mortar Team, helped me. 

“They secured me a range of training and this led to my new role as a gates person with Morgan Sindall. 

“I’m really pleased with the support I’ve received from the project. Officers couldn’t do enough to help and the result’s clear to see.

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“I’m looking forward to the future and want to thank officers for all their help.” 

Danielle Riley, aged 47, of Killay, used the project to find new work at South Wales Auction Facilities.

She said: “After working since leaving school 15 years ago I lost my job with Arcadia Group this year when the company ceased trading.

“Due to the current employment circumstances, Danielle found she was suffering with lack of confidence, anxiety and a dip in her mental health.  She became unsure of her transferable skills and felt her lack of qualifications was a barrier to her.

“Support from the short term unemployed project was fantastic; officers were encouraging and understanding – and I can’t thank them enough.

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“I’d recommend the project to anyone who find themselves in the same position as me – they really do make a difference.”

Kathryn Hynes, aged 63, of Brynmill, used the project to secure valuable roles as a volunteer with two charity organisations and has now entered full-time employment with assistance of the scheme

She said: “At the beginning of lockdown last year I found myself out of work for the first time in 32 years.

“It wasn’t possible to walk straight into another job but the short term unemployed project has been invaluable as I look for employment.

“They’ve helped me in creating a CV, writing personal statements, filling out application forms, taking courses and have opened my eyes to the skills I have.

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“I’m now volunteering in a Local Aid charity shop and am also starting as a volunteer for Hourglass, an elderly abuse charity, as a telephone help-line advisor.

“Due to all the effort and ongoing support Workways have provided I am still improving and learning all the time but most of all I am still optimistic about my future. 

“A big heart-felt thank you to all of the team for all their continuing support.

“Due to all the effort and ongoing support has provided I am still improving and learning all the time but most of all I am still optimistic about my future.”

The Swansea Workways+ short term unemployed project has a team of dedicated employment liaison officers attached to the council’s Workways team.

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Support, using local labour market knowledge and expertise, is personalised and focused on the needs of the individual to progress into sustainable employment.

The officers have a strong working relationship with local businesses, with an network of more than 250 employers providing access to jobs not available on job search websites.

More – Workways+@swansea.gov.uk01792 637112.
Lead image: Hugh Blackwood, of construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall (Image: Swansea Council)

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