After nearly 14 years away from the workplace caring for her autistic son, mum Emma Williams wanted to return to work but was struggling to find a job that could fit around her son’s complex routine. Emma referred herself to Workways+, an EU-funded employment scheme that provides training, one-to-one mentoring, support with job-seeking and interview skills and paid work opportunities for people in South West Wales who are long-term unemployed and/or face complex barriers to getting back into work.
Once Emma had received sufficient one-to-one mentoring, support with job-seeking and interview skills, Tomms Care in Port Talbot was identified by the Workways+ team as a suitable company to help Emma ease her way back into employment.
Tomms Care provides an individualised service to young adults with autism and related disabilities. Tomms Care has worked with Workways+ over a number of years, and has employed many participants that are still employed at the company.
A seemingly perfect match due to her experience in the field, Emma carried out a trial day and was immediately offered a three month paid work opportunity which eventually led to her being offered a permanent 30 hour position as a care assistant.
Emma said: “I enjoyed the work experience so much and I am delighted to have been offered a permanent position in a field in which I am so passionate.
“It was a big step returning to work after 14 years but after all the support I got from the Workways+ team, I felt ready. My mentor helped me no end, he helped build my confidence and made me realise I could give something back to the community.
“I wanted to work in the care sector as I wanted to support other families and children that were going through the same as me.
“I’m learning new skills every day which I can adapt to my home life with caring for my son. Life is so much better now, I have a regular wage and I’m more confident in myself.”
Carol Williams, Director of Tomms Care said: “Emma initially joined us on a 3 month placement and she’s fitted into the team perfectly.
“She’s great with the service users and everyone loves her. Emma was able to adapt her personal experience into work and we are delighted to have her as part of our team.
“We have worked with Workways+ in the past and we’ve built up a good relationship so they know the type of people we’re looking for. We will definitely be using them again.”
Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, Ali Thomas OBE said "This is another excellent example of the support Workways+ can offer local jobseekers and employers alike.
“Hearing the views of Emma and Carol demonstrates the important assistance the project offers."
Workways+ is backed by £7.5m of EU funds through the Welsh Government. The project is led by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council in collaboration with Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion Councils.