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Welsh couple affected by redundancy receive tailored support to rewrite their careers

Shane Lock & Corrina Lewis

A couple from Newport has praised the support they have received in helping them back into work following funding from the Welsh Government.

Shane Lock and Corrina Lewis from Newport are encouraging more adults to seek support after they both received funding and advice following a change in their work circumstances.

Shane Lock, 35, previously worked in warehousing and hospitality before landing his new role as a Health and Safety Compliance Officer thanks to a fully funded training course.

He contacted Working Wales, an all-age careers advice service funded by the Welsh Government and run by Careers Wales, after hearing about the support and guidance his partner, Corrina, 42, had received after being made redundant.

Shane said: “I’ve worked in several different roles, but recently I’d started to feel unmotivated and stuck in temporary work situations. I wanted to find a long-term career, and for that, I knew I needed more qualifications.

“I initially attended an appointment with an adviser at Working Wales with my partner, who was already looking for work, and quickly realised I could also benefit from the free advice and training programmes they were offering.

“I hadn’t thought about speaking with a careers adviser before, but the experience has been great. I had a dedicated Working Wales adviser assigned to me, and they really listened to my situation, giving me advice on my career prospects and qualification options.

“They suggested I start a course via a Personal Learning Account which has really suited me because of how flexible it was and the number of qualifications available, all for free. I spoke to an adviser on a Monday, and by Friday I had started my course.”

Personal Learning Accounts provide flexible courses and qualifications that are fully funded by the Welsh Government.

The programme is aimed at adults in Wales who are currently working but looking for something new, allowing them to study part-time around their existing responsibilities. It enables individuals to obtain the qualifications they need to change their careers or progress in their current roles.

Shane continued: “I’m currently studying for the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Health and Safety, and despite not yet finishing the course, it’s already helped me secure a new role as a Health and Safety Compliance Officer in the residential property sector.

“I’m responsible for the effective and efficient management of health and safety on our sites, including policy implementation, monitoring and inspection, risk assessment and investigation. For the first time in years, I’ve found a career I really want to excel in, and it’s given me a new sense of purpose in my professional life.

“The Personal Learning Account has also given me the freedom to study without having the worry about the rising costs of living or feeling like I’m tied into an employer to learn and progress.  It’s not something I could have afforded by myself as it costs over £900 to do, but it was completely covered by the Welsh Government.”

Shane’s partner, Corrina, is also currently looking for work and has been receiving support from Working Wales and was referred to the ReAct+ programme.

ReAct+ is a personalised support package designed for people who have recently become unemployed or are facing or going through redundancy. The programme helps individuals to overcome obstacles and improve their chances of returning to work after their jobs have been made redundant.

Corrina has 20 years of experience in the dentistry industry but was recently made redundant after her employer went into liquidation.

Corrina said: “I’m currently looking for a new challenge but had been struggling to secure a new role. When I spoke to a Careers Adviser at Working Wales, they immediately suggested the ReAct+ programme because of how flexible it is.

“From my initial meeting, I’ve received CV support and guidance and funding to develop my skills in accounting through an AAT bookkeeping course.

“Even the smallest things such as top tips on how to improve my CV have been invaluable. I’ve already seen an increase in the responses I get back to the job roles I’m applying for, which is such a confidence boost when you’re looking for work.”

“I have felt incredibly supported at every stage, and most of all I feel like my adviser really listened to me and tailored the help I needed around my situation and skills. Receiving expert advice can often be expensive but I haven’t had to worry about that which is a huge weight off my mind.

“Most importantly, it’s made me realise that I’m not on my own. It’s helped boost my confidence and has been such a huge relief to know that help is available.”

Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething, said: “We are committed to offering people across Wales the opportunity to receive funding and support to pursue careers and jobs that are needed by employers in Wales.

“Personal Learning Accounts and ReAct+ have been designed to fulfil the distinctive demands of each individual. With sponsored training, both programmes provide opportunity to upskill and retrain. At the same time, these programmes help adults in Wales with their personal growth and development.

“Our goal is to continue addressing skills gaps in our economy while also supporting those who have current barriers to employment.”

Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “I am determined that Wales should be a nation of second chances. That’s why I’m committed to ensuring everyone has access to lifelong learning and the chance to renew their career in adult life.

“I’d encourage anyone looking for support or change of direction to take advantage of the free advice and training available from Working Wales, I’m pleased to see our investment in the Personal Learning Account is helping people on their journey to a fulfilling professional life.”

Personal Learning Accounts is fully funded by Welsh Government and ReAct+ is part-funded by the European Social Fund.

If you are looking for a career change, are out of work, or are at risk of redundancy, search Working Wales or call 0800 028 4844 to access a personalised package of support, matched to your individual needs.