Are you struggling to find employment? Do you need support to develop new skills?

Help is available through the Welsh Government funded Communities For Work+ scheme. This is how the local team at Ceredigion helped one resident to turn his life around.

John (not his real name) is a 31 year old man who resides in shared accommodation in Aberystwyth. He is currently subject to a Probation Order after a conviction and has been in and out of the offender system since he was young with numerous warnings and convictions over the past 15 years. He left school without any formal qualifications and has never had any official employment. He became reliant on benefits to fund his living costs and to pay court fees. Although John has a child, he currently has no visitation rights due to his conviction. He was desperate to turn his life around and prove to the court that he can be a responsible father.

That’s when he contacted Ceredigion County Council’s Communities For Work+ team. After the initial face to face appointment, John realised this was an opportunity for him to make positive changes to his life and move forward to a more secure future. The team managed to obtain a copy of his birth certificate as he previously had no formal ID. The team then began the process of exploring work opportunities that would be suitable for John. He required something hands on and was willing to work any hours, including night shifts. Due to having no previous employment history, he had no experience of interviews or formal hiring processes, but the Communities for Work+ officers were able to guide and advise him through the process.

Following this, John was offered a position as a night shift worker, pending some final checks by the agency. He began work the very next day and has been employed full-time for the past 2 months. The team were also able to provide him with in-work support by providing clothing for his job role and a backpack and lunchbox.

“I feel good to be honest,” says John. “I want to help people in my position and support and give advice in the future to young offenders by talking to them about crime and drugs etc. Obviously I need to prove myself first. I’m going through personal stuff, but work has helped. I just want to accomplish things and help. I’ve actually got aspirations. I want to pass on what you showed and helped me with.”

An officer from the Communities for Work+ team, added: “Thanks to this employment, John is learning the importance of routine, structure and responsibility and enjoying the rewards of a steady income. Thanks to the income, he was in a position where he was able to purchase Christmas presents for his child. He has adapted to the night work shift pattern well, and probation have been supportive in adapting his order appointments to suit his work. He intends to keep focused at work and eventually work his way up within the team and is well on the way to proving he is capable of turning his life around.”

Councillor Wyn Thomas is the Cabinet Member responsible for Lifelong Learning and Skills. He said: “This a great story about how a scheme has helped an individual regain his ambitions. I am very pleased to see such examples, and remember that help is available for anyone who wants to improve their skills, gain qualifications or get employment.”

If you feel you, or someone you know, could benefit from the Communities for Work+ Scheme, get in touch with your local Ceredigion team by email or call 01970 633422.