Website page developer and part-time administration officer Sian Andrews, aged 27, felt a huge sense of achievement on the 22nd March 2019 because that was the day the new website that she has played a crucial role in developing, www.AccessPembrokeshire.co.uk, was launched.
Diagnosed with autism, Sian was determined to follow her passion for making people aware of the issues surrounding disabled access. In Workways+ Sian found the perfect support to enable her to do just that.
In 2016, Sian was referred by the Shaw Trust to the Pembrokeshire Workways+ team. Workways+ assigned Sian a dedicated mentor to work with her on a one to one basis. Sian’s mentors Hannah and Nigel, recognised the great potential in Sian. After a period of working with Sian helping build her confidence and develop her work skills, it was arranged for Sian to join the Workways+ voluntary group charged with developing new websites to serve the needs of Pembrokeshire.
With ongoing support from Hannah, Nigel and Workways+ administrator Daniel Martin, Sian thrived within the voluntary group developing her digital skills and taking part in the social interaction.
Sian’s passion for highlighting disabled access information was channelled into the creation of the new website www.AccessPembrokeshire.co.uk. This website has been created to help make people aware of access and facilities for disabled people within public and private sector places within Pembrokeshire.
With support from Workways+, Sian’s role in developing the website has grown to include sourcing and editing the News and Events sections and adding maps, buttons and hyperlinks. Sian’s contribution has been so impressive she is now paid to work on the website 3 hours per week.
Nigel also secured a voluntary position within Pembrokeshire County Council for Sian to work as an administrator. Sian took up this opportunity with enthusiasm, further developing her skills set. After a few weeks volunteering, Pembrokeshire County Council offered Sian a permanent job working 16 hours per week. Sian now has a level of independence greater than she has ever known.
Gaining employment has meant a lot to Sian.
Sian said, “I am doing something I really enjoy. I enjoy the work and I also enjoy socialising at work and meeting people. This gives me something to look forward to everyday I go to work. Workways+ are such nice people and they have been wonderful in helping me to do things I am passionate about. I am very proud of what I do and so is my family. I would recommend Workways+ to anyone wanting to make the most of their lives”.
Karen Davies, Workways+ Pembrokeshire Project Manager, said “It’s been a pleasure watching Sian grow and the difference between Sian today and the person that we first met is amazing. Our mission at Workways+ is to help economically inactive people improve their lives through volunteering, training, work experience and employment. Anyone, no matter what their barriers maybe, should speak to us. If we can’t help then we will be able to direct them to other support services.”
Workways+ helps people improve their lives through volunteering, work experience, training and employment. Workways+ is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.