David, a Cardigan resident, was out of work and looking for a job. He was unsure what direction to take to find the right one for him especially as he had received support from different employment programmes in the past which hadn’t worked out.

David’s work coach at the local job centre directed him to discuss his options with the Communities for Work+ team. With the support and opportunities provided by the team, David is now working five days a week as a kitchen porter at Crwst, a popular cafe and bakery situated in Cardigan.

A portrait of David in his crwst t-shirt

Finding the right role for David was challenging as he hasn’t got a driving licence and despite volunteering a few days a week at Barnados charity shop, had never entered the world of paid work before so was lacking in experience, confidence and the right support needed for him.

Members of the Communities for Work+ team Delor Evans, Mentor, and Catrin Davies, Employers Liaison Officer, supported David in improving his confidence through putting him forward on a confidence-building course, conducted job search sessions, applied for various jobs, offered mock interviews to prepare him as well as helping him to build his CV.

During a job search, David considered a kitchen porter role being advertised on Facebook. After being advised to call in to have an informal chat with the employer, which David did, he got offered a work trial. The work trial went well and David was offered the job at Crwst.

David enjoys being a part of a team and working in his first-ever paid job and was grateful for the support provided by Ceredigion’s Communities for Work+ Team.

Catrin from Crwst said: “David is an excellent kitchen porter and takes real pride in his work. He plays a vital role in ensuring that brunch service runs smoothly on a daily basis. It is a pleasure to have him as part of Team Crwst."

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning & Skills, Support and Intervention, said: “If your story sounds similiar to David’s and you’re still trying to enter the world of work, get in touch with Ceredigion’s Communities for Work+ Team now and you too could soon have that support, training and skills needed to get that job that’s just right for you. The Team are currently supporting approximately 80 people through the project and are on hand to help even more find the right employment.”

Communities For Work+ is a Welsh Government funded project, delivered by Ceredigion County Council which supports individuals in or at risk of poverty, aged 16 or over, across Ceredigion and throughout Wales. Participants may be experiencing in-work poverty, unemployment, living on minimum wage or struggling to pay basic monthly outgoings on sporadic zero hour contracts.

Mentors provide 1:1 support for participants with writing CV’s, undertaking mock interviews, up-skilling and funding a wide variety of training including help with starting up their own business.

If you think the project may be able to help you or if you would like more information, contact the team on 01545 574193 or email TCC-EST@ceredigion.gov.uk.

Ceredigion resident Danielle Bradford approached Workways+ to help her start a new chapter in her life.

Originally a hairdresser, Danielle had fought through sciatica and depression but could no longer cope with long periods of standing required to carry out her job. Danielle with her Workways+ mentor identified that an acrylic nail technician role would suit Danielle. Despite the Covid 19 restrictions, Workways+ identified a suitable acrylic nail course and fully funded it. Danielle completed her training and with support from Workways+ was ready for job search. Danielle now has a job as an Apprentice Nail Technician with Skin Deep @ Conrah Hotel, Aberystwyth.

Danielle Bradford working as a nail technician

Ceredigion Workways+ staff Wendy and Beti supported Danielle and they are absolutely delighted.

Danielle said, “It’s thanks to Wendy and Beti that I am where I am and thank you doesn't even come close to how grateful I am”.

For more information on how Workways+ can help you with training, work experience and employment, call 01545 574193 or visit the Workways+ website.

During an unsettling time last year with talk of redundancies, Archie, a bus driver and the sole earner for his family, knew he had to look for a different job. After seeking help and support from Communities for Work+, Archie was able to secure new employment with a local milk collection company.

Archie contacted Communities for Work+ in September 2020 and was allocated a Mentor – Delor Evans and an Employers Liaison Officer – Catrin Davies from the Ceredigion Communities for Work+ Team.

Archie and a milk lorry

Archie enjoyed being a driver but after finding out that his job may not be secure anymore, he was interested in becoming a HGV driver. This would mean that he would have to undertake training and obtain a licence for this.

The Communities for Work+ Team organised the necessary training; theory and practical and CPC Module. Despite delays in the training schedule due to covid restrictions, Archie passed all the training and with the new qualifications under his belt was able to start looking for a new job.

Archie and the team looked for suitable jobs together over the phone and saw Llaeth Cymreig were advertising for a Class 2 tanker driver. After an informal chat, Archie went for a two day trial. The trial was a success and Archie now works on a four day on, four day off rota for Llaeth Cymreig, a flexible working pattern that Archie and his family can benefit from.

Archie said: “Without Communities for work+ I simply would not be in the role that I am now, the scheme has helped me to gain new skills for life and I would highly recommend this scheme to anyone in need of any training. Even through these uncertain times, Communities for work+ has always been on hand to answer any questions. Since completing my HGV course I have a better home/work life balance. Once again, many thanks to all at Communities for work +.”

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Support and Intervention, said: “The last couple of years have been extremely challenging for everyone and the threat of redundancy, has added even more pressure onto some. So, hearing how Communities for Work + has helped Archie learn new skills, secure a more settled job and gain a better life/work balance as a result is uplifting to hear. I hope it will encourage others to get in touch with the team.”

Communities For Work+ is a Welsh Government funded project, delivered by Ceredigion County Council which supports individuals in or at risk of poverty, aged 16 or over, across Ceredigion and throughout Wales. Participants may be experiencing in-work poverty, unemployment, living on minimum wage or struggling to pay basic monthly outgoings on sporadic zero hour contracts.

Mentors provide 1:1 support for participants with writing CV’s, undertaking mock interviews, up-skilling and funding a wide variety of training including help with starting up their own business.

If you think the project may be able to help you or if you would like more information, contact the team on 01545 574193 or email TCC-EST@ceredigion.gov.uk.

A Ceredigion resident has completed a Counselling course after receiving funding from Communities for Work+, enabling her to find work as a Counsellor within the County.

Kate Saunders has found work as an online Counsellor for Area 43, a Cardigan based youth charity which provides support, training and information to young people aged 16-25 and counselling services to 10-30 year olds and pupils at Machynlleth Primary School after receiving funding from Communities for Work+ to finance her course.

Kate saunders

Kate said, “The funding I have received has helped me to develop my skills and use them to find work that I am passionate about, that can also fit around my son's needs.”

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Support and Intervention, said: “I am delighted to see that Communities for Work+ are able to help so many individuals in Ceredigion, like Kate, to develop professionally.”

Communities For Work+ is a Welsh Government funded project, delivered by Ceredigion County Council which supports individuals in or at risk of poverty, aged 16 or over, across Ceredigion and throughout Wales. Participants may be experiencing in-work poverty, unemployment, living on minimum wage or struggling to pay basic monthly outgoings on sporadic zero hour contracts.

Mentors provide 1:1 support for participants with writing CV’s, undertaking mock interviews, up-skilling and funding a wide variety of training including help with starting up their own business.

If you think the project may be able to help you or if you would like more information, contact the team on 01545 574193 or email TCC-EST@ceredigion.gov.uk.

To celebrate national Carers Week 2021, which was from 7 to 13 June, Ceredigion County Council worked with colleagues across Health and the third sector to arrange a variety of free activities to support unpaid Carers. Some activities were jointly hosted with partners in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Carers Week is an annual event to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid Carers face, and recognising the valuable contribution that they make to their families and communities in the county.

The activities were based on feedback given by unpaid Carers to the Carers Unit during the last 8 months. Sessions included an online retreat day (yoga, mindfulness etc), sleep and relaxation techniques, Carers Forum cuppa and chat, confidence improvement sessions for carers wanting to return to work and a chance to learn more about nature and have a go at collage craft – all from the comfort of their own home, designed with unpaid Carers in mind.

Thanks go to Gofalwyr Ceredigion Carers (GCC), Cerebra, Mind Aberystwyth, Holistic Yoga Care Wales, West Wales Care Partnership, Carers Wales and Chwarae Teg for working with the Carers Unit to run the events.

During Carers Week, Ceredigion County Council also launched a new Carer’s Policy. The policy aims to support staff members who are currently juggling their jobs with a caring role at home. The local authority is committed to supporting and retaining caring members of the workforce and the Carer’s Policy helps to do this.

Juggling work and care is challenging and costly. ‘22% of Carers in Wales have either reduced their hours or given up work completely to care since the start of the pandemic.’ (Caring Behind Closed Doors Six Months On – Carers UK).

Supporting Carers to stay in work means that Carers don’t lose out on building a better pension for later life and their ability to maintain a good quality of life outside of their caring role. In the current climate, employers also benefit from keeping experienced, skilled workers rather than recruiting and retraining staff.

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Carers Champion said: “It is great to see opportunities for unpaid Carers continuing in the county. Covid has been tough on everyone but unpaid Carers especially. A report by Carers UK released during Carers Week says ‘Three-quarters of Carers (74%) reported being exhausted as a result of caring during the pandemic, and more than a third (35%) said they feel unable to manage their unpaid caring role’.

That’s why support for Carers in Ceredigion is more crucial than ever. Events that were held during Carers Week helped Carers feel that they are not on their own.”

The Ceredigion Employability Support Team also got involved with the campaign and raised awareness of what they can offer to help support carers, such as help pay towards a carer so non-paid carers can receive training for employment opportunities.

Missed Carers Week? An online nature collage session (22 June) with GCC 03330 143377 and a virtual wellbeing day with Carers Wales 07933 218261 (29 June) are still welcoming all unpaid Carers for free. Call them to book.

If you look after a friend or family member who cannot manage on their own because they have an illness, poor health, disability, mental health issue or an addiction, you are an unpaid Carer. Carers Week may have passed, but caring continues 365 days a year. If you would like more information about the year-round support available to unpaid Carers in Ceredigion, please contact Ceredigion County Council’s Carers Unit on carersunit@ceredigion.gov.uk or 01970 633564.

Ceredigion residents Neville Morgan Thomas, Ed Goodliffe and Ian Townrow have all benefited from the help of employment and volunteering support service Workways+ through an outreach programme run by the Cardigan based mental health recovery centre, Kinora.

Kinora hosts a number of outreach programmes that helps support mental health recovery. Workways+ has been part of one of these programmes to help people improve their lives through volunteering, training, work experience and employment opportunities.

Neville, Ed and Ian have all faced challenges in their lives. Neville, aged 55 had a nervous breakdown that led to a suicide attempt. He has not been able to work for 20 years. Ed, aged 38, struggled with drug addiction for over 20 years. Ian aged 56 is autistic and has suffered from severe depression.

Funded by Workways+ with support given from Wendy Fitzpatrick, Workways+ Mentor, both Ed and Neville successfully completed a ‘safe strimmer handling’ training course and are now qualified. In addition, Workways+ helped Ed secure a paid job as a dishwasher in a local café, which he’s delighted with.

Participant Neville said, “It’s been brilliant to be able to get a qualification, it has really made me feel more confident. Workways+ has been great,” whilst participant Ed added, “The social part of the course was great and getting the qualification is an achievement. Getting out in the fresh air and helping the community is something I really enjoy. I don’t think I could have done this without the support of Workways+.”

Gary Yeomans, Kinora Centre Manager said, “Kinora has been supported by Workways + over the last year to support people to gain a range of qualifications to improve their confidence and make them ready for volunteering or employment. They have supported people through the whole process from form filling to being there on the day of the training. They have shown dedication, patience and humour in the way they have supported people.”

Kinora, Cardigan-based mental health recovery centre, offers support and advice to anyone who needs it. It’s open four days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) and one evening a week (Wednesday) and operates as a drop-in centre where everyone is welcome.

Ian, another Kinora participant that has received support from Workways+, wanted to help Kinora through providing First Aid support on site. Workways+ funded training for Ian to undertake a First Aid course.

Ian said, “I love attending Kinora, it’s such a friendly atmosphere here. Everyone contributes in their own way. Workways+ has been very supportive and not just in helping fund the course. I am really pleased to be able to now deliver First Aid.”

Gary Yeomans continued, “Courses completed this year include ‘safe use of strimmer’ a fully accredited qualification and a first aid course. The Workways+ team takes time to select the appropriate training provider to meet service user needs. Gaining qualifications is so important for work readiness but along with this, we have seen confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing improve as a result of achieving qualifications.

“On behalf of Kinora I would like to thank the Workways+ team for all their help and support this year. The project really does make a difference to people's lives.”

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council said, “It is great to see that Ed, Neville and Paul have been given support to help them progress and improve their lives. Workways+ is committed to taking their services into the community and their excellent work with the Cardigan based social enterprise Kinora is a great example of this. I would ask people that are interested in volunteering and employment to contact Workways+ and get the help they need.”

Workways+ is an employability project, part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, and Ceredigion County Council. Wokways+ mentors are based around the county. To find out more about the services they provide, visit www.workways.wales or get in touch with one of the team on 01545 574193 or email workways@ceredigion.gov.uk.

A Ceredigion resident is back in work after receiving support by Communities for Work+.

After Dwynwen Morgans was made redundant, she turned to the Ceredigion Employability Support Team. This service helps unemployed and employed people to access funded face to face and online training, work experience, volunteering opportunities and jobs.

After getting in touch, Dwynwen was assigned a Communities for Work+ mentor, Delor Evans, to work with her on a one to one basis. Delor helped Dwynwen build a CV and cover letter to be ready to apply for jobs.

Dwynwen said, “My mentor Delor Evans was very helpful with advice and informed me of suitable job vacancies when they arose. She kept in constant contact with encouragement during interviews and options. With bills to pay and no regular income or savings to support the family over a period of months created a very worrying situation and our finances got worse. This service was of great help and benefit in getting me back in employment as a receptionist and earning a regular income once again.”

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Support and Intervention, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Dwynwen back into employment. Practical support like this is invaluable for people experiencing unemployment, especially during these difficult times. Communities for Work+ is here to support Ceredigion residents.”

Communities for Work+ Ceredigion is staffed by officers from Ceredigion County Council and is funded by the Welsh Government.

If you would like to find out more, call one of the mentors on 01545 574193, or visit the Council’s website, www.ceredigion.gov.uk and search ‘Ceredigion Employability Support’.

Aberystwyth resident, Chris Tuner, aged 25, is autistic and struggles with low confidence which limits his social and professional opportunities. With his own determination, together with help and support from RAY Ceredigion and Workways+, Chris' life has taken a positive turn and he's now seeking employment in IT and warehousing.

Heulwen Lloyd and Vikki Forbes, RAY Ceredigion Dyma Ni programme; Chris Turner; Carly Evans, Workways+ during a RAY Ceredigion Dyma Ni open day

Life was difficult for Chris. At his lowest point, Chris found it very difficult to leave his home, could not enter shops or use public transport.

Social Services referred Chris to Workways+, a service dedicated to helping people improve their lives through volunteering, training, work experience and employment.

The Ceredigion Workways+ team assigned Chris a dedicated mentor, Carly Evans to work with him on a one to one basis. A focus on confidence-building and volunteering opportunities was the agreed course of action. Carly contacted RAY Ceredigion, a charity dedicated to helping young adults with disabilities aged 17 to 30.

RAY Ceredigion was able to offer Chris a place on their 10-week 'Dyma Ni' programme, funded by Cynnal y Cardi. Participants of the programme take part in a variety of projects including, growing organic fruit and vegetables, carpentry and cooking. Dyma Ni helps people work on practical activities both individually and in groups with the aim of developing skills and building confidence.

Completing the 10-week programme, Chris has thrived and his confidence has grown. Chris was able to commute via public transport to attend Dyma Ni, which was a major development and one that will help him secure full-time employment.

Workways+ is now helping Chris search for jobs. Workways+ is supporting Chris with identifying job opportunities, conducting mock interviews, developing his CV and helping him to apply for jobs.

Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council said: “It’s wonderful to see two Ceredigion based services working closely together to help people get on in life. Chris is a great example of someone that despite barriers to overcome has embraced support and now is enjoying the benefits. Workways+, which is delivered in Ceredigion by officers from Ceredigion Council, help people who are unemployed or economically inactive take control of their lives through funded skills training, volunteering, employment support and work experience. They have great relationships with private sector employers and social enterprises like RAY Ceredigion. If you would like help to make a change in your life then I encourage you contact Workways+.”

Workways+ in Ceredigion is part funded by Ceredigion County Council and is staffed by their Officers. Workways+ is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

RAY Ceredigion is seeking volunteers to help them deliver programmes like Dyma Ni. For further information, visit www.rayceredigion.org.uk.

Workways+ is available in Ceredigion, Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot.

For information on how the Ceredigion Workways + team can help you, please call 01545 574193 or visit www.workways.wales.

On Friday 28 June, Workways+ celebrated UK’s first Employability Day by holding a drop-in event in Tregaron. Workways+ were on hand to explain how they can help with job, training and employability opportunities to anyone aged 25 and over and looking for work.

Ceredigion Workways+ offers training, qualifications, volunteering placements, paid work experience opportunities and a personal mentoring service to help people get their lives back on track.

Recently Workways+ mentor, Wendy Fitzpatrick supported Paul Crawshaw, 57 back into employment. Paul is now employed by Ceredigion County Council as a Ground’s Operative.

Paul Crawshaw

Paul explained how Workways+ helped him, “I had not been able to work for several months due to health issues and had really lost my confidence. Workways+ helped me to find volunteering opportunities which helped me regain my confidence. With the right support, they found me a job with the council.”

Support is available to people affected by work-limiting health conditions or disabilities; Carers; those with low or no qualifications; people with childcare responsibilities; the over 54’s; people in a single adult or jobless household or anyone from a Black Minority Ethnic group.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council said, “It’s fantastic to hear how Workways+ has supported individuals like Paul back into work. Don’t worry if you missed the drop-in session this time, as Workways+ is on hand all through the year. They could offer you one-to-one mentoring support with job seeking, interview skills and confidence building. Contact Workways+ to see how they could help you.”

The Ceredigion Workways+ team can also help with writing the perfect job application, can pay for qualifications and training, and for some participants, secure a paid temporary job with a local employer.

Workways+ is an employability project, part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, and Ceredigion County Council.

To find out more about Workways+ visit website www.workways.wales or get in touch with one of the Ceredigion team on 01545 574193 or email workways@ceredigion.gov.uk.

A new service has been launched to ensure short term unemployed people in west Wales get the practical hands on support needed to get into work.

The service is delivered by the highly experienced and skilled Workways+ team, they can now support people that have been unemployed for a day or years. This is thanks to an additional investment of £3m EU funds provided through the Welsh Government. STU is available through Workways+ in Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

People accessing the STU service can expect one to one support from an experienced and caring employment mentor. They will work with them to develop their CV, completing job application forms, preparing for interviews and searching for jobs. They may also get fully funded skills training, clothes for interviews, PPE and work clothing. Unemployment can be traumatic and the mentor team understand this. They will help people build their confidence and get work ready. Every one of the mentor team takes great pride in how they help people and are thrilled when the people they help get jobs.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Support and Intervention, said: “Practical support like this is invaluable for people experiencing unemployment. We are pleased to be able to support this initiative to assist people facing short-term unemployment, and launching this additional support is very timely given the challenges currently facing people due to the coronavirus restrictions. We trust the scheme will benefit many people.”

Workways+ and STU are funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government and staffed by officers employed by Ceredigion County Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Council.

To find your local office, go to the Workways website.

A Ceredigion resident has set out on a new career path after receiving support by Workways+.

Mary Davies, who is 64 years old, had to choose between her business and her role as the main carer for her elderly and increasingly fragile mother.

Mary had started her own domestic cleaning business and developed it to the point where she had ten loyal customers. However, like many people who have family care responsibilities, Mary followed her heart and gave up her business.

Always motivated to plan for the future she studied ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ through a home based training course. This was satisfactory but Mary felt it was not enough to prepare her for work.

Mary contacted the Ceredigion Workways+ team for support. Workways+ is a service which helps people that are not in employment to access funded face to face and online training, work experience, volunteering opportunities and jobs.

Workways+ assigned Mary a mentor, Wendy Fitzpatrick, to work with her on a one to one basis. Wendy helped Mary identify her training needs which focused on getting her up to speed with using computers and digital media.

Wendy then sourced an IT training course that was both local to Mary and that Workways+ could fund. The ‘European Computer Driver’s License Course’ (ECDL) delivered by Dysgu Bro, a Ceredigion County Council service, made a positive impression on Mary.

Mary Davies said: “Initially it was a big step attending the Cardigan computer course in the evening and leaving mum for a few hours – I hadn't done that for six years. Caring is stressful and affects how you feel. Time for myself was in short supply. Over the last few years I had become increasingly aware of the future and what I would be doing. The ECDL course was beneficial on a number of levels. It taught me much needed new skills and through having to be at a place on time and mixing with new people it put me in a work type environment. I began to relax, manage stress and became confident about my future. I can’t thank Workways+ enough.”

Mary’s goal is to use her new IT skills to help her teach English from home, and Workways+ continues to support her.

Workways+ Ceredigion is staffed by officers from Ceredigion County Council and is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

If you would like to find out more about the service, call one of our Workways+ mentors on 01545 574193, or for another area visit the Workways website.

People volunteer for personal reasons and these can differ from person to person. Some people volunteer for social reasons and others want to learn new skills and get work experience. The one thing that all volunteers have in common is the wonderful warm feeling they get from helping others.

Workways+ helps people with volunteering and they have a whole range of opportunities available. Workways+ can also help with getting the online training that may be needed to carry out a volunteering role. In most cases, Workways+ can pay for the training and certificates.

One volunteer supported by Workways+ is Ceredigion resident Ashley Robinson. Alison Ellis-Jones, a Workways+ mentor has also volunteered to help vulnerable people and demonstrates that even people in full time employment might be able to volunteer in their spare time.

Following childhood illness, Ashley was left with damage to his physical and mental abilities, along with severe dyslexia, and verbal dyspraxia. This has affected his confidence with finding employment and social situations. Workways+ assigned Ashley a dedicated mentor to support him one to one. Wendy Fitzpatrick, Ashley’s mentor, identified that he had an interest in gardening. Wendy worked with Ashley to build his confidence then helped to place him volunteering with ‘Denmark Farm Conservation Centre’, where he would be able to pursue his interest in gardening and other outdoor work. Ashley was a success and Workways+ is now seeking additional volunteering opportunities for him.

Ashley said, “Volunteering has helped me learn skills and introduced me to new people. Wendy, my Workways+ mentor has been supportive and has not pressured me into anything I did not want. I would recommend Workways+.”

Alison, who is a Workways+ Mentor, started volunteering in response to the challenges presented by Covid 19. At this unprecedented time of social isolation, Alison realised that there were vulnerable people in her community. These people would find it difficult to comply with social distancing guidelines and carry out normal tasks like grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions.

The Ceredigion Workways+ team work closely with Mirus Wales, a social enterprise dedicated to supported living. Alison felt compelled to help and in her own time has been shopping for groceries for six of the residents within a Mirus Wales supported house.

Alison said, “Being able to help vulnerable people at this time of need has been very rewarding. I was even nominated for a local volunteering award and I won! I would recommend volunteering to anyone that could help.”

Workways+ helps people with volunteering, online skills training, work experience and finding a job. All the support is delivered over the phone. Workways+ in Ceredigion is delivered by officers employed by Ceredigion Council and is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

For support from the Workways+ Ceredigion team please phone 01545 574193 or to find your local office on the Workways website.