Spotlight on…lockdown!

With the easing of restrictions combined with the re-opening of our Employment Hub for face-to-face delivery, now is the perfect time to reflect on all that has been achieved over the last few months.

The Employability Department quickly adapted to new remote ways of working, evidenced by the service reaching and supporting more than 3000 individuals. Clients and businesses responded very positively to these changes and benefited from the continuation of available support. Throughout the lockdown period many clients on the Better Jobs, Better Futures programme secured some fantastic opportunities, and others progressed through different stages of applications. Individuals on Reach+ further advanced their language and employability skills through new virtual learning techniques, and individuals supported through ‘Enterprising Futures’ continued to make excellent progress on their entrepreneurial plans. 

New and existing clients were incredibly grateful that our services continued, with many finding themselves out of work and requiring flexible support to help them move quickly into new employment, such as Better Jobs, Better Futures client Lowrie. With perceived barriers to securing her dream job being a lack of experience, qualifications and unsure how to navigate the job application process, Lowrie was supported by her Career Coach Lynsey to develop more confidence in her abilities and apply for a number of positions before securing the role she had always wanted.

“I was fed up in my current job and felt there were no other jobs out there, so I contacted Better Jobs Better Futures for help and advice. They helped me edit my CV and sat and chatted with me about the jobs I wanted. I didn’t have much hope, but they kept my spirits up. After daily interaction of discussing jobs I have now secured my dream job in Care. I did not think I would ever get this job especially during the pandemic.”

It was also pleasing to see many of our college students securing brilliant job and apprenticeship opportunities as a result of our employability support. Students like Jade who wanted to find the right opportunity to best utilise the knowledge and skills she developed through studying Food and Beverage.

“During this stressful time I have had help and support from my Career Coach Lisa. Without Lisa I would not have achieved many things. From helping me create a new CV to general day to day support I have finally found a job in a restaurant that is right for me.”

Despite the level of uncertainty in the economy a number of organisations continued expanding throughout lockdown and our team of Workforce Advisers were on hand to lend their support to employers to address a range of recruitment and workforce challenges.

Order Uniform UK is one organisation that witnessed an upsurge in demand, which translated into a need to bring additional specialist staff on board quickly. Despite initially furloughing part of the team as the company faced concerns over reduced sales, they began to see an increase in orders as their competitors temporarily closed their operations. This meant they were able to bring furloughed staff back sooner than expected. There was also an immediate need to recruit new team members, and purchase additional production equipment to service a greater volume of orders.

“Thanks to the ongoing workforce development and planning support from Better Jobs, Better Futures we were able to adapt existing job descriptions to advertise the roles quickly, implement a fair and equal recruitment process utilising interview scoring matrixes to be able to recruit the right staff to join the team in record time during lockdown.”

Kelly Jenkins

Director Order Uniform UK.

With Swansea seeing unemployment benefit claimants increase by around 70%, and approximately 20% of the local workforce currently claiming furlough, we are preparing for a significant increase in the scale and scope of individuals requiring our support. At the same time we are anticipating renewed demand from employers for our recruitment support as the economy gradually reopens, helping businesses to address their workforce challenges and providing valuable opportunities to the individuals we are supporting into new or better work.

If you are seeking new or different employment, or are an employer requiring recruitment or workforce support, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at: info@betterjobsbetterfutures.wales or on 01792 284450.

Employment Hub Re-Opening

We are delighted to announce that we are re-opening for face-to-face delivery from Monday the 13 July. We have made adjustments to the layout of the building and put in place all necessary precautions and safety measures to resume delivery in a safe, friendly and relaxing environment.

To find out how we can help with your employment journey, get in touch at 01792 284450 or email: info@betterjobsbetterfutures.wales

 

Spotlight on support for ex-offenders

As part of the ongoing development of its employability provision, Gower College Swansea has been working closely with a number of prisons to expand the support on offer to ex-offenders. Through its flagship  Better Jobs, Better Futures programme based at its city-centre Employment Hub, the college has developed a comprehensive package of support for offenders on release from prison, as well as those serving non-custodial community-based sentences.

 

This package of support provides a flexible, open-ended and individualised programme, aimed at assisting ex-offenders into employment as soon as possible on release. Continuing post-employment support is a key feature of the programme, in order to overcome any barriers to retaining work and to encourage and facilitate future progression.

 

To date, the programme has engaged with over 500 individuals resettling to the Swansea area,  including Ashleigh and Jason, who have shared their comments about the support they received:

 

“I was very anxious about finding a job due to my conviction, but the right support gave me the framework and confidence I needed to secure my dream career. Thanks to Better Jobs, Better Futures, I am achieving my goals and have gained so many new skills, and so much experience working in an exciting career with a fantastic local charity.”

Ashleigh

 

 

“Better Jobs, Better Futures were able to secure me an interview whilst I was still in prison, which I found quite astonishing and that further reassured me that I was actually employable. Upon release, I met more of the team at the Employment Hub, who were all very positive, and more importantly wanted to talk to me about my skills, experience, knowledge and aims for the future, as opposed to seeing my conviction as barrier. I gained confidence from the whole team’s attitude, and secured a really exciting job. I am so lucky to be able to say that my future is looking so positive and promising, and all thanks to the support from Better Jobs, Better Futures.”

Jason

 

 

Work across prisons

 

The programme’s method of delivery is flexed to meet the needs of each prison and their individual population, but typically involves pre-engagement at the earliest opportunity through consultation sessions between the client and a dedicated Career Coach. These sessions are intended to build trust between the client and coach and will also aim to:

 

  • gain an understanding of the client’s employability needs and job goals;
  • discuss potential employment options and opportunities; and
  • build an individualised post-release plan

 

In parallel with this prison-based support, Career Coaches work hand-in-hand with our specialist Recruitment and Workforce Advisers to broker appropriate employment opportunities with the aim of ensuring offenders move seamlessly into work upon release.

 

One prison the college is working closely with is HMP Parc, Chris Roberts Regimes and Employment Pathways Manager said of the relationship:

 

“Better Jobs, Better Futures (Gower College Swansea) has been actively supporting offenders at HMP Parc for the last 12 months. They have delivered employability sessions towards the end of their sentences with a view to supporting offenders into sustainable employment upon release from prison. This plays a significant part in the rehabilitation of offenders, helping them to reduce their chances of re-offending, providing ex-offenders with a much needed second chance to turning their lives around in a positive way and that supports their local community.”

HMP Parc

 

The college has also established a strong partnership with HMP Eastwood Park in Gloucestershire in order to provide a similar support pathway for female offenders resettling to the Swansea area. David Durrant Head of Reducing Reoffending said the following about the partnership:

 

“It is great to have forged a partnership with Better Jobs, Better Futures of Gower College Swansea, and we are pleased with the way the relationship is developing between our two organizations, and are confident that it will provide women being released with additional support in securing training and employment.” HMP Eastwood Park

 

Despite the challenges posed by Covid 19, the college is continuing to work with prisons and with probation services to adapt its delivery approach in order to maintain continuity of employment support for ex-offenders. So if you would like to find out more about the support on offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by email to: info@betterjobsbetterfutures.wales

Spotlight on Futures

As part of its ‘Better Jobs, Better Futures’ programme, Gower College Swansea delivers a wide range of employability support to its full-time learners under the ‘Futures’ brand. The Futures team work with students to raise awareness of  numerous employment and apprenticeship pathways for those seeking an alternative to higher education, and work with learners throughout their course to support them to progress on to their chosen routeway. They also offer access to a range of opportunities for learners seeking part-time employment to run alongside their studies, helping to build critical employability skills that will prove highly beneficial for entering the world of work.

This year, through a range of interventions delivered across college, Futures has supported over 4,000 students to develop their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the local labour market, explore career opportunities and build valuable employability skills, helping many to secure their first ever job. This support has also enabled the college to this year introduce its ‘Gower College Swansea Guarantee’, which guarantees full-time learners progression onto one of five routes –including a job, apprenticeship or continuing employability support, a higher education place or continuing further education – on completion of their course.

 

 

Careers Fair

Building on the college’s excellent relationships with local, regional and national employers,  the Futures team are able to offer businesses access to a diverse and highly sought-after talent pool to help build their future workforce. The strength of such connections also enables the college to host regular Career Fairs, attracting companies from a diverse range of sectors. The most recent event in February proved to be highly successful, and an invaluable experience for the over 2,000 students who attended, many of whom secured immediate job offers through connections made on the day. The feedback provided by the organisations who attended was similarly positive:

 

“We were delighted to be a part of the Better Jobs, Better Futures Recruitment Fair, and it was great to see so many

eager students engaging with such a wide range of employers.” Admiral Insurance

 

“We were delighted to be part of the Recruitment Fair which gave us the chance to provide an insight into employment opportunities in the field of Law. Thank you.” Gomer Willliams Solicitors

 

 

Futures Academy

For A’ level Students who do not wish to advance onto Higher Education, support is provided to navigate and plan the next stage of their progression through a unique Futures Academy programme. This innovative scheme, which is well supported by the region’s employers, offers students the opportunity to develop an individual employment pathway through a suite of tailored workshops and mentoring to help them seamlessly transition into employment or an apprenticeship on completion of their course.

Demi Clement is one example of a student who excelled from her experience at the Academy. Demi achieved ‘Business Student of the Year’ in 2018, and secured an apprenticeship with accountancy firm Bevan and Buckland, who said of the experience:

“Demi is a highly motivated and passionate young professional who is fully committed to becoming a Chartered Accountant. Demi has progressed from work experience student to Junior Accounts Assistant as a result of a willingness to gain experience, excellent academic performance and with the support of Gower College Swansea” – Vanessa Thomas Parry, Learning and Development Manager, Bevan and Buckland.

What’s next?

In line with the continued delivery of our sector-leading Gower College Swansea Guarantee, and in light of the continued labour market challenges posed by Covid 19, the Futures  programme is expected to play an even bigger role in advising learners on their future employment and career plans over the coming months and equipping them with the skills to succeed in their chosen routeway. So if you’re a student, or prospective student, wanting to find out more about the support on offer, or an employer keen to work with us to provide opportunities for our learners, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by email to: info@betterjobsbetterfutures.wales

Employment Hub Diaries – #1

View our latest Employment Hub diary for an Employability Department update.

 

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