Rachel approached Môn CF in August 2016 with the seed of an idea to pursue a career in administration. Having not worked since doing some seasonal work whilst in education, she was identified as being LIFT eligible. She had done a few courses and a bit of volunteering since leaving school sixteen years ago but, due to her complex health needs and confidence issues, she felt that she had significant barriers to entering employment.
Rachel's arrival on the LIFT programme coincided with Jenny Crouch from Natural Resources Wales making contact with Môn CF to offer a work placement in the reception of their Bangor office. Rachel was interested, but skeptical about travelling the twenty plus miles to Bangor on the train and then the bus. To overcome this barrier, the LIFT Mentors arranged a workplace visit to NRW, taking a small group of clients to the site using public transport. This helped them all, Rachel included, to realise that the placement was accessible. During the visit, Jenny spoke about the roles and responsibilities of NRW as an organisation, and gave a detailed tour of the reception area and fleet maintenance section.
At the end of the visit, there was a visible difference in Rachel's attitude towards the placement, and she was enthusiastic about applying for it. Her Mentor supported her to complete the necessary paperwork, documenting her previous training, experience and skills. Rachel was consequently invited for a panel interview – an important part of the whole experience because it reflected the intensity of a real job interview. Again, Rachel's LIFT Mentor accompanied her, offering onboard interview practice and further bolstering her confidence in traveling to the site. Rachel performed brilliantly, and was quickly offered the opportunity to undertake the work placement.
At the beginning of January, Rachel commenced her placement with NRW. One day a week she works on reception, answering telephone calls, sending memos via email, and dealing with staff and visitors face-to-face. On the other day she works alongside the Fleet Maintenance team, performing thorough checks on the vehicles, compiling written reports,
and inputting data using Microsoft Office. Evidently, a wide range of learning opportunities are available to her, which is allowing her to broaden her skill base week by week (not least, she is travelling independently on public transport with her Mentor only a phone call away if necessary).
Rachel's skills and confidence are being given a further boost by regular site visits from her Mentor, who is delivering two work-based units in Office Administration and Customer Service accredited by Agored Cymru. This tangible evidence of her growth and development is helping Rachel to update her CV with her latest experiences. Her next step is to register with local temping agencies – including the agency used by NRW themselves – in the pursuit of her first period of formal employment. We extend our thanks to our colleagues in NRW, and wish Rachel the very best of luck - we are extremely excited about supporting her through the next phase of her journey to work.