Aged 33, Carmarthenshire resident Ryan Thomas was desperate to find a job. Ryan had been unemployed for years and had no qualifications or work experience. He had received employment support from a number of agencies, however, Ryan felt he was being pushed in a direction he didn’t want to go. What he really wanted was work experience. Ryan’s Job Centre put him in touch with Workways+, the service that helps unemployed people with funded training, work experience and helping people get jobs they really want.
Workways+ provided Ryan with mentors, Rhiannon and Lee to work with him in a no- pressure 1-1 way. Rhiannon and Lee helped Ryan build confidence and start thinking about what sort of job would suit him. A volunteering opportunity was identified at CETMA. CETMA is a not for profit organisation that is based in Carmarthenshire and helps people with volunteering.
After a period of time volunteering, Workways+ was able to arrange for Ryan to move to a paid position at CETMA through the Workways+ ‘Paid Work Opportunity’ scheme. The PWO is a funded service which enables employers to take on a Workways+ participant and pay them a wage funded through Workways+. This enables the employer and employee to work together for up to 12 weeks without the employer funding the wage.
Working through the covid lockdown period Ryan continued his work from home. At the end of the PWO, Ryan was thrilled when CETMA offered him a full time position as a ‘Standard Facilitator’, which 18 months on he is still thoroughly enjoying.
Ryan said “Having been out of work for a fairly long period of time, years actually, I was encouraged by the Jobcentre to approach Workways+ for support. I was sceptical having tried similar schemes to very little productive outcome. While I was really in the market for any and all support possible, what I was primarily interested in was actionable work experience. Finding a job at the end of it was a welcome prospect, but not one I entirely expected would happen. Prior to the first meeting with Lee, I was sceptical. Having tried work support schemes before, I expected more of the same from Workways+ such as very little consideration of my input, trying to navigate me down avenues of their choosing rather than my own. I’ve rarely been so happy to be wrong. Workways+ was nothing like that, and I received nothing but practical input, support, patience, and useful recommendations.
For the past two years, I’ve been in a job that doesn’t make me despair when I get up in the morning, and I consider that an unexpected victory!
Keith Evans-Hurley, Deputy MD, CETMA said, “It was a pleasure to work with Workways+ to help Ryan with his development from a job seeker to an employee. It was really great for us as a charity to access the Paid work Opportunity for Ryan. We then had time to apply for funding to give Ryan a permanent post. Ryan works extremely hard and is very passionate about his role within the organisation. We would be happy to support anyone sent to us in the future from Workways+ looking to upskill or build their confidence with voluntary work on one of our projects”.
Ryan continued “In all seriousness, I don’t think anything could improve the support I already received from Workways+. Lee and Rhiannon were nothing but understanding, patient, and insightful during the whole process, with guidance that actually felt catered to my skill set and what I was hoping to attain as an employment prospect at the end of it all”.
If you want support to find the right job for you or you an employer that would like to know more about the Workways+ Paid Work Opportunity scheme please contact your Workways+ office www.workways.wales
Workways+ is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.