Raymond Ray aged 52 loves his new job as a kitchen porter so much he wants to encourage others that have experienced the despair of long-term unemployment to follow his path to success. Employed off and on for 15 years Raymond struggled with finding a steady job, a problem he believes was caused by his hearing difficulties, gaps within his employment history, lack of qualifications and his childcare responsibilities. Raymond’s confidence had plummeted but his desire to get ahead ensured he didn’t give up.
The breakthrough Raymond was looking for came when Jobcentre Plus referred him to Workways +, a service created to help long-term unemployed people into full time employment. Workways + is available in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. Workways + is supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.
Through Workways + people can access a wide range of practical hands on support including career advice and skills development. In Raymond’s case this included one to one employment advice, helping to search for jobs, developing his CV, access to training providers, mock interviews and a work trial at a leading national restaurant group.
Workways+ helped Raymond achieve a Level 2 Food Hygiene qualification and the Hazard, Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Food Standards accreditation. Critically they also helped him to develop the confidence and skills needed to impress employers.
Raymond “I think Workways + are fantastic. With their help, I have achieved positive results and they have helped me identify opportunities. Sam, my Workways + mentor has helped me gain qualifications, which I have not been able to achieve elsewhere. My new job has made a big difference to my life; it has improved my confidence, value and personal worth. Workways + has boosted my confidence and listened to my needs and wants and not pressurised me to apply for a job I did not want.” Raymond also believes his new job has a positive effect on his children as it promotes a working culture within his home and he is setting a positive example.
Jennifer Raynor, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, said Raymond’s successful re-entry into the world of work was brilliant news for him and his family. “I want to offer my congratulations to Raymond for his hard work and perseverance. Swansea Council works very closely with partners in business and the public sector to support people like Raymond to acquire the skills and confidence they need to get back into the jobs market. I too have hearing problems which is another reason why I am very pleased that Workways + worked on all barriers to employment”.
Raymond said, “Regular employment is great and coming off job seekers is like a breath of fresh air. I encourage others to seek out Workways + help.”