Port Talbot Woman finds route back to work after 15 years of
A Port Talbot woman who was out of work for
over 15 years has found a job thanks to the support of an EU-backed
After receiving support from the South West
Workways project, 50 year old Jackie Ellis is now employed as a
peer mentor with the Welsh Centre for Action on Dependency and
Addiction (WCADA), a local charity that helped her overcome her own
struggle with alcohol abuse.
“For years my priority in life was alcohol and
I didn’t have any intention of doing anything else; my days were
24/7 drinking,” said Jackie.
It was when a close relative passed away from
the effects of alcohol, that Jackie realised it was time to make a
“I decided to stop drinking and sort myself
out; WCADA helped me do this.”
Free from the influences of alcohol, Jackie
could consider employment for the first time in years. However, she
still had barriers to face which the Workways project helped her
“I was frightened and I didn’t know how to
find a job.”
Jackie received support from Workways to
search for job vacancies, build her confidence, complete job
applications, access training and write a new CV.
“The encouragement I had was brilliant - they
never lost sight of the fact that I was capable of doing a job.
“If I was having a bad day, there was always
someone there to talk to. It wasn’t just a case of helping me find
a job, the support network was invaluable.”
Jackie was soon recognised for her progress
when she picked up an award for Adult Learner of the Year from NPT
Adult Community Learning, with whom she studied a course in
“I was gobsmacked to win the award - I still
don’t believe it!”
Workways also helped Jackie to secure a
temporary job as a peer mentor with WCADA, a work environment where
she felt comfortable. Having demonstrated her value to the
organisation, she was delighted to secure a full time position.
“I’ve got a lot of responsibility now working
with individuals who have had issues with substance misuse. I give
them support to help them realise their potential.
“I absolutely love my job – I’m so grateful
for the help that I’ve had from others that I just want to pass it
“I can’t put it into words how much it means
to me to be back in work. It’s given me my self-respect back; it’s
given me a sense of worth and the pay comes in handy too!
“Without Workways I wouldn’t have come as far
as I have. They never had any doubt in me. Whenever I questioned
myself, they told me ‘yes you can do it’.”
Councillor Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port
Talbot Council said “I wish to commend Jackie for all her hard work
and wish her all the very best in her new post. Again, this is
showing the outstanding work that the Workways project and its
South West Workways provides support to help
people overcome the barriers which prevent them from finding work.
Participants, who choose to take part in the project, are helped
with job applications, CVs, interview techniques, personal
development and access to training.
Workways is backed by the European Social Fund
through the Welsh Government. The project is led by Neath Port
Talbot Council in collaboration with Bridgend, Carmarthenshire,
Pembrokeshire and Swansea Councils.