Starting your first job is a great achievement and can be a life enhancing experience. This was certainly true for Port Talbot resident Bernadette Thomas. What makes Bernadette story remarkable is that at aged 60 this was her first employed position in over 30 years.
For many of these years at home, Bernadette’s life revolved around looking after her family and in more recent years caring for her husband. When her husband sadly passed away in 2017, Bernadette found herself in a position where she needed financial support and a life outside of the home.
Bernadette started claiming Universal Credit and received support from Jobcentre Plus. It was there that she learned about the employment support service Workways+. Workways+ helps unemployed people improve their lives through employment support, skills training, volunteering and work experience. Concerned about her lack of work experience and limited qualifications Bernadette contacted Workways+ and was assigned a Mentor, Rhiannon Collins, to help her prepare for employment. Rhiannon worked with Bernadette to identify training needs, help build her confidence and develop a CV. Next Rhiannon brought in Lesley Nicolson, an Employment Liaison Officer with Workways+. Lesley’s job is to work closely with employers helping to support their recruitment through putting forward Workways+ participants for consideration and promoting the job vacancies through Workways+ social media channels and networks.
A business that Workways+ has an excellent working relationship with is the Port Talbot based company Cando Laundry. Started in 2012, Cando Laundry is a family run business that has experienced significant growth. To date Workways+ has helped five Workways+ participants’ secure jobs with Cando.
Working with Bernadette, Lesley thought she would make a great addition to the Cando team. When a position became available at Cando, Lesley put Bernadette forward, supported her in her preparation for the interview and to everyone’s delight Bernadette was successful.
Bernadette said, “I honestly thought that at age 60 with no qualifications or recent work experience I had absolutely zero chance of getting a job. Workways+ convinced me that I could do it. They helped build my confidence and they put me on training courses that they paid for. Through them, I got qualifications in First Aid, Manual Handling and COSHH. They introduced me to Cando Laundry and helped prepare me for the interview. I could hardly believe it when Cando offered me the job. It is a wonderful place to work and it is not just an income that is great but also getting out and having a social life within the workplace. I would recommend Workways+ to anyone looking to get into work, no matter how mature or inexperienced you are.”
Daniel Shepherd, Director of Cando Laundry Services said, “Bernadette has been with us now for 10 months and she is a great member of the team. She has the ‘Cando’ attitude and that is what we look for. We have collaborated with Workways+ for over a year and they are great partners. They take responsibility for a lot of the recruitment work, including vetting people to make sure we get a high level of applicant.”
Workways+ is funded and delivered by Neath Port Talbot Council, Swansea City Council, Carmarthenshire Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Ceredigion Council and is part funded by the European Social Fund via the Welsh Government.
If you would like support to get a job then please call 01639 684250, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.workways.wales
Workways+, a ‘Cando’ partner for Port Talbot Commercial Laundry Company
Award winning Cando Commercial Laundry Services has created an excellent working relationship with the not for profit employment support service Workways+.
Daniel Shepherd, Director of Cando Laundry Services said, “We have worked with Workways+ for over a year and they are a great support. They take responsibility for a lot of our recruitment work. They have a people that they are supporting to get into work and many of them are potential candidates to join us as we grow. They can also fund training for the people they support so when they join us they are already trained in first aid, manual handling and COSH at no expense to us. Workways+ can even offer a paid for work opportunity where you can take on a new employee for up to 16 weeks and Workways will fund their wages It is a great opportunity to get to know the person before you take them on. We have recently employed an excellent member of staff on this basis. Workways+ are valued partners.”
Part funded by the European Social Fund via the Welsh Government, Workways+ can help people improve their lives through employment, skills training , work experience and volunteering. If you are a business seeking to employ then access www.workways.wales to find the telephone number for your local office