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Town Centre Hub helping people back to work is to continue for another year

A popular employment hub operating in the centre of Port Talbot has been granted a lease extension by Neath Port Talbot Council members so it can continue its vital work.

The Aberafan Shopping Centre based NPT Opportunity Hub offers residents a “single front door” access to all the employability services Neath Port Talbot has to offer namely, Communities for Work Plus, Workways NPT and New Horizons (Youth Service).

The Opportunity Hub is there to offer residents aged 16 plus, who are unemployed, not in education, employment or training (NEET) or economically inactive, an easily accessible and welcoming venue in the heart of the community that can help them get jobs or training so they can more easily find work.

Since opening in January, 2023, a total of 282 residents from Port Talbot, who were looking for help and support to secure employment, have come into the centre and been referred to NPT Employability programmes.

A lease for the NPT Opportunity Hub in the shopping centre was due to end on August 31st, 2023 but members of the council’s Education, Skills and Wellbeing Cabinet Board have decided to extend the lease for 12 months.

Cabinet Board members heard that Welsh Government Officials who recently visited the hub commented on what an excellent facility it was for the community and that it was in an ideal location for engaging people passing by.

Currently the Hub has organisations attending on a weekly basis to offer support such as Citizens Advice, Job Centre Plus, Direct Payments, the Safe and Well Team and the Community Fridge project.

It has also hosted monthly recruitment days with local employers to help them fill their current vacancies. These events allow residents to meet employers face to face so they can find out what they need to be successful in securing employment with them.

There have been several specific employment events focusing on sectors such as security, health and social care, construction and administration work. The hub has also engaged with a range of employers such as McDonalds, the DVLA, numerous security companies, many care sector employers and Virgin Atlantic to name just a few.

The hub is also used to provide support for people with regard to upskilling and work development and also been a Warm Hub to help with the cost of living crisis.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Economic Growth, Cllr Jeremy Hurley said: “The Opportunity Hub is best located in the shopping centre rather than a corporate building, as it has passing footfall of residents already in the Shopping Centre for many reasons.

“The lease extension will ensure our residents will continue to have access to a welcoming venue, offering advice, guidance, support and we will have the ability to signpost callers to different organisations and services both within and outside the council.