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Swansea-based employability programme enjoys double celebration

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An innovative programme of employability support run by Gower College Swansea is celebrating two significant milestones, having offered support to 10,000 clients just as it also celebrates its fifth successful year of delivery.

Better Jobs, Better Futures provides tailored employability advice and support to unemployed and employed people in Swansea to gain, retain and progress within employment.

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Over the last five years, Better Jobs, Better Futures has offered support to over 10,000 individuals seeking new or better employment. Individuals like Kevin, who first arrived in the UK as an asylum seeker having fled El Salvador with his wife and three young children in search of safety.

Kevin, 30, faced a number of barriers to entering employment and was also juggling college studies, a part time IT course and a voluntary role as a Case and Crisis Worker when he first came to Better Jobs, Better Futures. But with the support of a dedicated Career Coach, Kevin quickly enrolled onto courses to improve his English language and IT skills, received help with job applications and was introduced to a number of local employers offering opportunities in his chosen field. Kevin made rapid progress and has recently started a Data Analytics Degree Apprenticeship with Swansea Bay University Health Board.

The programme also provides support for individuals seeking a career change, like 25-year old Ashleigh, who, with support from the Better Jobs, Better Futures team, made the dramatic move from nursing to plumbing and is now undertaking an apprenticeship with Swansea Council.

“The team were absolutely amazing when assisting me during a challenging time when changing careers,” says Ashleigh. “They were always there for any questions I had to ask and more than happy to help! I really appreciate everything BJBF has done for me and can’t thank them enough.”

Better Jobs, Better Futures has also helped over 720 businesses to expand and develop their workforce. Among them is leading accountancy firm Morgan Hemp, who have successfully recruited a number of trainees into their business since 2017.

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Another organisation to benefit from the support of the BJBF programme is Swansea Bay University Health Board who have offered one-to-one career progression sessions for staff to improve their chances of securing new roles within the organisation. Since opening the service to health board staff, more than 150 individuals have taken advantage of the support to date, with some fantastic results.

“The Career Development Team at Swansea Bay University Health Board has worked in partnership with Better Jobs, Better Futures since early 2019,” says Rebecca Shaw, Lead Organisational Development Facilitator / Staff Experience – Engagement. “They have provided excellent career coaching to our staff as well as many learning opportunities to help shape our staffs’ careers. Some people have needed advice and support with applying for jobs, preparing for interviews or even looking for a different direction. Most recently they have supported staff in the Mass Vaccination Centres across the health board, supporting those whose contracts are coming to an end. They are such a great support and always at the end of the phone for anything that we need.” 

The programme has also worked in partnership with a wide range of organisations across the City and County to enhance the support available for individuals to improve their employment prospects and life circumstances. This has included a tailored programme of support, in conjunction with prisons across South Wales, to assist offenders into employment as part of wider efforts to reduce reoffending on release from custody. To date, this has engaged with more than 500 individuals.

“It has been an amazing five years of operation for Better Jobs, Better Futures,” says Director of Employability, Cath Jenkins. “We have exceeded all of our expectations by offering support to over 10,000 individuals in communities across Swansea seeking new or better employment and over 720 businesses seeking to strengthen their workforce.”

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