After thirty years, Paula’s in from the cold at Iceland
Following thirty years of unemployment, the
South West Workways project has successfully helped a Port
Talbot resident to find a full time permanent job.
Forty six year old Paula Evans, from
Sandfields is now employed at Iceland in Aberafan Shopping Centre
thanks to the European funded project.
The South West Workways project 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. The project
supports people to overcome the barriers which prevent them from
Having spent years caring for a family member
and raising a family, Paula decided it was time to find a job. Low
in confidence and out of touch with a working environment, Paula
was referred to Workways last summer.
Paula said “I’d had some retail experience
years ago after leaving school, but due to my family commitments
and responsibilities I found myself without a job until now.
“My confidence was so low. I honestly didn’t
think I’d be able to find anybody to employ me” she added.
Following some one-to-one meetings with her
Mentor, it was clear to see that Paula was struggling with her self
confidence. Workways arranged for Paula to attend a tailored retail
customer care and confidence course.
“Workways were such a big help. The courses I
attended made a huge difference, and my Mentor, Donna Roberts, was
so supportive. Being a total stranger to the job application
process, I gained some valuable interview techniques, and was able
to complete a few mock interviews” Paula said.
Her confidence growing, Paula showed interest
in the seasonal vacancies in Iceland, and decided to apply for a
job just in time for Christmas.
Store Manager Nigel Boulton said “Workways
have been a great support. It makes the process so much easier to
have applicants ready to interview. To be able to trust Workways’
judgement on their available participants makes life a lot easier
as a Store Manager.”
Following a successful interview, Paula was
offered a position as a Retail Assistant at the Port Talbot store
in early November 2013.
“I was over the moon. The group interview was
so daunting; I really didn’t think I’d done enough. I couldn’t
believe it when I found out. I can’t thank Workways enough. I
wouldn’t hesitate a second in recommending them to anybody.” said
Manager, Nigel Boulton added “Paula is a great
member of staff. She was the pick of the bunch from the group we
interviewed. To see her confidence and ability grow over the months
has been amazing. She’s like a different person now.”
With this collaborative approach well
established, Nigel and Iceland are hopeful of conducting a similar
recruitment process this year with the support of Workways.
Councillor Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port
Talbot Council said “I am delighted once more to see the continuing
success of the Workways Project and I would like to congratulate
the latest recipient of this wonderful initiative on their
dedication and commitment in attaining their goal. Once again I
wish to express my gratitude to everyone involved with South West