French visitors praise Newport employment project

published on 29 Nov 2018

“Employment Plus gave me the confidence to go for a job“ – Ian from Rogerstone

A Newport employment project which supports local people - some of whom have faced enormous challenges in life - to find work, has been attracting international attention.

Visitors from the Fédération des acteurs de la solidarité in France called in to see the Employment Plus active inclusion project in action at The Salvation Army hall on Hill Street, last week.

While they were there, they met people from Newport and the surrounding area who have been working with Employment Plus and found work, including Ian and Shirley.

Ian is from Rogerstone, struggles with basic literacy skills and has been sofa surfing for five years.

But thanks to the support he’s had from Employment Plus,  Ian’s found a job and is now saving up to put a deposit on a flat.

“When I came to Employment Plus, the main thing I needed was to get my confidence built up.   Since I’ve been here, they’ve done that and helped me with approaching employers to find work and with doing job interviews” said Ian. 

“I feel pretty good now – I’ve found a job, which Sam – the Employment Plus Employment Development Co-ordinator helped me to find. She also gave me the confidence to go for the job and showed that she believed in me. I’m saving up now to get a deposit so that I can get a place of my own. That’s really exciting and it inspires me and if it wasn’t for Employment Plus, I’d still be in the same situation.”

The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus supports people who are unemployed to become job-ready, land employment and stay in work.
Shirley had been suffering with poor mental health and could not work when she first came to Employment Plus. She is now working and optimistic about the future.

“I attended my first course at Employment Plus which was called ‘Health & safety in the workplace, level 3’. On approaching the building, I felt nervous and wanted to walk in the opposite direction but Sam was waiting at the door” said Shirley. 

“I broke down and told Sam I couldn’t do this, but with a bit of reassurance and a ‘thumbs up’ I attended the course.  I went on to do my ‘First aid level 3’, ‘Food safety level 3’ and passed them all. I then went on to find myself a job and I now work in a place where I’ve always wanted to work. I’m beginning to feel bubbly again and my appetite is coming back and I’m beginning to feel healthy again.”

The Fédération des acteurs de la solidarité works to help people who have been through difficult times to rebuild their lives and take their place back in society.

It sent a delegation over to Wales and the south west of England on November 20 and 21 to see the work done by The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus programme to support people into employment.

"We were really pleased to meet the Employment Plus staff who were really welcoming as well as the participants on the programme, which allowed us to appreciate the concrete results of this work done by The Salvation Army”, said Fabrice Bourdeau from Fédération des acteurs de la solidarité.

“We've been interested in the holistic approach of Employment Plus for some time and were given direct testimony by and Ian and Shirley's of the programme's value. We share the idea that wide-ranging support is the most efficient way to get people back into work and for social inclusion and we found the paid placement element of the programme very inspiring."

Commenting on the visit from Fédération des acteurs de la solidarité, Sarah Jefferies, Regional Manager for Employment Plus said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome our friends from Fédération des acteurs de la solidarité to see the life-changing work we do with Employment Plus at Salvation Army centres in Newport, Cardiff and the south west of England.

“We are very proud of the people we support through the Employment Plus programme and also of our talented and dedicated staff who always go the extra mile to help our clients to gain confidence, overcome  the difficulties life has placed in their way and begin to realise their true potential”.