Darren has a fresh start at ‘Our Place’

46 year old Darren Casseldine from Swansea has successfully found a job at Our Place, Pontarddulais thanks to the support of Workways+.Darren Workways

Darren, a qualified Carpenter by trade, worked all his life but the pressures of self-employment and illness forced him to take some time out of the workplace.

After 4 years dealing with his illness Darren felt he was ready to return to work, but having not claimed any benefits and having no contact with the Jobcentre he didn’t know where to start.

A family friend suggested he contact Workways+, his confidence was very low and he wasn’t sure what line of work he wanted to do. He was assigned a personal mentor who worked with him on his confidence and discussed new ideas of work options. Darren was keen to explore working in the care sector. Workways+ identified a volunteer placement at Our Place in Pontarddulais, a day care facility for Adults with disabilities.

Darren started volunteering and it was something completely different to anything he had done before, and he really enjoyed it. After nearly 2 months, a job vacancy became available and he was offered the position.

Darren said “Workways+ couldn’t do enough for me, my mentor really helped build my confidence and encouraged me to try something completely new. Workways+ suggested I try volunteering so I could try new lines of work. I started at Our Place and loved it, I was learning new skills and was able to use my skills as a carpenter to help the service users learn too. After 6 weeks I was taken on, the team really welcomed and encouraged me on my new journey. Being back in work has done wonders for my quality of life. I can’t thank the Workways+ staff enough – they really did go above and beyond the call of duty to find me a job.”

Lisa Thomas, Manager at Our Place said: “Darren initially joined us as a volunteer and is now a full time member of staff. He’s fitted into the team perfectly, and is great with the service users. You would never have said Darren had never worked in the care sector before as he was a complete natural.”

“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.”

Phil Holmes, Head of Planning and City Regeneration at Swansea Council, said: “It’s hugely satisfying that Darren has been able to find permanent employment thanks to the Workways+ programme.

“This is among several projects that are available to help the long-term unemployed get back into the workplace, boost their confidence and develop their skills.

“The combination of these projects means we’re able to better tackle poverty in communities right across the city.”

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.

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