News & Events
Steps to Employment
- Posted by: pembscollegesuperadmin
A joint venture between Pembrokeshire College and local charity, Paul Sartori, is already proving to be a huge success.
The employment scheme, aimed at helping young people to gain skills and experience in the customer service and hospitality industry, has already seen the first six young people to take part in the programme gain employment within the county.
After completing all, or in some cases just part of the 13-week Steps to Employment programme, the first six trainees have secured employment with a variety of employers including Casa Maria, Costa Coffee, Allied Healthcare and Merlin’s Magic.
Joint Project Co-ordinator, Alex Findlay, has been working with the young people and commented: “It has been really rewarding to see these young people grow in confidence and develop a set of transferable skills that will be of benefit to them in any future position regardless of the sector. With many of the trainees we have found that their capabilities are often much greater than they have been given credit for in the past and this setting allows them to develop their skills in a realistic but non-threatening environment.”
Alex continued: “An additional result of the project has been the interaction between the young people and the various age-groups who work and shop in Sartori’s charity shop. A level of respect and a real bond has built up between the generations, which is lovely to witness.”
By the end of the 13-week programme the trainees leave with qualifications in food hygiene, emergency first aid and customer service as well as a comprehensive set of transferable skills.
Steven Rowlands, aged 28, from Haverfordwest, was referred to the scheme by the job centre and found full-time employment just seven weeks after starting the programme. With previous experience in the care sector, Steven was keen to get back into care support work. Steven commented: “Throughout the programme Debby and Alex (project co-ordinators) have been really motivating and keen to help us all find and progress into work. They found out about the Allied Healthcare information day and encouraged me to go along. If it wasn’t for the scheme I would probably still be on Job Seekers Allowance.” Steven is now a support worker for Allied Healthcare working with young people.
Fellow trainee Steph Dewick, aged 17, from Crundale, was referred to the programme after taking part in the Prince’s Trust Team Programme. Steph is now a barista at Costa Coffee thanks to the skills she learnt as part of the scheme. “Completing the scheme gave me the qualifications and confidence to apply for the position at Costa Coffee. I gained lots of new skills and the structure of the programme was really beneficial for me. Costa Coffee is much busier than the café at Sartori’s but I’m really enjoying it,” said Steph.
Speaking at the launch of the project, Pembrokeshire College Workforce Skills Director Wendy Weber said: “This is a collaborative operation to provide a focus for the youngsters and boost their confidence, and from this go on to gain employment in the industry.
“It’s a simple activity, but it’s so important to these young people. They will be involved in every aspect of customer service and housekeeping. It’s exciting because it’s a full-time training facility, which is a realistic environment without being too formal.”
The 13-week training scheme operates throughout the year, with proceeds from the café going to the Paul Sartori Foundation.
The Paul Sartori Café, in Bridge Street, Haverfordwest, is open from 10am-2pm from Monday to Friday.
Work Based Learning programmes operated through Welsh Government are part-financed by the European Union European Social Fund through The West Wales and the Valleys ESF Convergence Programme.