People, Places, Business

Afan Valley woman finds job

Afan Valley woman finds employment with support from EU funded project

A young mother of two in the Afan Valley has found work thanks to the support of a local employment project.

Twenty six year old Sheridan Griffiths from Abergwynfi is now employed as a Community Centre Attendant at the newly opened Community Enterprise Centre in Croeserw. 

She was supported into her new role by the South West Workways project, which helps people tackle the barriers preventing them from finding work.

Led by Neath Port Talbot Council in collaboration with Pembrokeshire, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Bridgend Councils, the Workways project is backed by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

Sheridan had been out of work for seven years, and with both her children now in full time education, she felt the time was right to return to a working environment.

“I was getting really depressed. My confidence was at an all time low, I was desperate to get a job. I wanted to get out more and meet new people” said Sheridan.

Living in the upper Afan Valley, Sheridan found it tough in her jobsearch efforts. Lack of transport and childcare were proving to be a stumbling block in her route back to employment.  

“Juggling childcare, jobsearching, whilst depending on public transport wasn’t working out. It became clear that a job in the local community would be ideal. I was told about the support Workways offer and referred by my Jobcentre Plus advisor.”

Whilst attending jobsearch at the Enterprise Centre, Sheridan was able to complete a number of courses through both Workways and Communities First. She said “I’ve been able to do my Food Hygiene course, which enables me to do shifts in the kitchen. I’ve also done a manual handling and customer service skills course which has been really useful too.”

“Workways were brilliant from the start. They have so many contacts available, and the staff are so supportive. After just a few one-to-one meetings with my Mentor, Carol, I was already feeling more positive about the future.”

Following the opening of the state of the art Community Enterprise Centre, a temporary Community Centre Attendant vacancy was made available. Sheridan successfully applied and was offered the position.

“I was so happy to get the job, my colleagues have been great and I’m meeting new people every day. The hours have suited really well, and I’ve been able to work around plans with the kids”

Sheridan proved to be an excellent member of the team. She impressed her new employers so much that she was delighted to be offered a permanent position at the centre at the end of her temporary contract.

Emma Butcher, Community Development Officer said “Sheridan has proved to be a very valuable member of staff to our team.  She is reliable, trustworthy and always there to lend a helping hand.  She has fitted in really well and is friendly and happy at all times.  She is a great asset to the Community Development & Projects Team”.

Councillor Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council sad “The centre has been a huge boost to the village of Croeserw, and I’m pleased to see local people getting jobs in their own community. I’d like to congratulate Sheridan and wish her well in her future employment.”