College just the job for Seren and Gran

A seventeen-year-old student is getting plenty of support after starting in college – from her grandmother!

Both Seren Cynfal and her nain, Anwen Jones, 56, have signed up for a ground-breaking scheme at Coleg Harlech, the second chance college.

They’re taking part in the Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) project which is designed to provide short term employment to help people on the dole find work.

It is being run in conjunction with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Seren, who lives in Llan Ffestiniog,  said: “Not many people get to go to work with their nain! I’m really enjoying the project and learning new skills all the time.

“Since being here I have had tests and discovered I’m dyslexic, something I was unaware of at school.”

“I really have enjoyed being part of this project at Coleg Harlech as I have had lots of new experiences, from using the recording studio to learning how to write a good CV, and how to approach job interviews.”

“It has really been a positive experience that will hopefully help me get a job, something that really interests me, in the future.”

Her grandmother was equally positive about the ILM project.

She said: “I am working on a multi-media project here at Coleg Harlech which is really helping me. I have been unemployed for some time and it’s getting harder to find jobs to apply for, let alone obtain one.

“I did run my own bistro business but sadly it didn’t work out. While here at Coleg Harlech I’ve learnt so many new skills.”

“I finish in January while Seren is here until April. I will be then better equipped and ready to move back into employment.”

According to Coleg Harlech Development Worker, James Berry, the project is proving a big hit.

He said: “Seren and Anwen both work at the college on a daily basis although they are doing different things.”

“Seren is working alongside 13 other young people learning new skills and disciplines that can only help in what is an incredibly hard and increasingly tough jobs market.”

“In Anwen’s case it’s about awakening skills she, and her colleagues, may already have while learning plenty of new ones too.”

Victoria Milton, 16, found out about the ILM project after spotting an advert pinned to a Barmouth chippy wall.

She said: “I wasn’t going to school as I’d finished my GCSEs but couldn’t find a job. I started the project and have found it really good, it’s really opened my eyes.”

“I have always wanted to sing and I have been able to use the Coleg Harlech recording studio to make a CD.”

“I have always wanted to sing and have been to stage school. In fact I have been singing since I was three and I hope to perhaps go onto study music, English or even fashion.”

“The main thing is I feel better equipped to tackle job interviews and have more confidence in myself. I have learnt so many new skills which will help me when it comes to finding work in the future.”

Coleg Harlech Principal Trefor Fȏn Owen says the ILM scheme has been a fantastic opportunity for his staff to be able to support people who want to get back into the world of work.”

He said: “Those taking part in the project here at the college have very much integrated into the fabric of the organisation. Our staff are really dedicated and the project has enabled us to bring in new staff too.”

“This has been a pilot scheme and we have worked alongside the Wales Council for Voluntary Action who have provided the finance to support the programme.”

“We have learnt that some of our young people need more support than perhaps other employees. We have supplied that support while they learn important new employment skills.”

“These young people have come a long way in a short period of time. They have matured and visibly grown in confidence and, at the conclusion of the project, will be able to go out and stand an equal chance in the jobs market.”

James Berry added: “The ILM project is about giving young people a chance and the opportunity to show they have potential and something to offer. They may want help with literacy and numeracy but everything we do is aimed at making them employable and improving their chances
of getting a job.”

“We engage in plenty of activities that build confidence but also employability. We hold sessions on form filling, CVs, interviews skills and planning.”

“It’s important they know how to plan a day, how to manage their time, as well as how to speak confidently, how to dress and how to behave appropriately. All vital skills but things perhaps they have missed out on.”

“I’m very proud of those that have taken part in this project. They have certainly come a long, long way in a short space of time and by working together they have so many more jobs skills now than they had before. All we need now is for employers to give them a chance.”

WCVA Chief Executive Graham Benfield OBE said: “The Intermediate Labour Market Project is supporting around 1,500 economically inactive people into permanent jobs across North and East Wales, while boosting the skills and work-based qualifications of over 3,000 people.”

“Interventions like these are vital in the current climate.”


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