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Darren finds work thanks to innovative employment scheme

A Swansea man who was unable to work for a number of years due to illness has been found a new job.

Darren Casseldine

Darren Casseldine, age 46, has successfully found work at Our Place, a day care centre for adults with learning disabilities in Pontarddulais, thanks to the support of a scheme called Workways+.

Offering training and paid work experience opportunities to long-term unemployed people to help with their route back into employment, the Workways+ scheme benefits residents in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigionshire.

Darren, a qualified carpenter by trade, worked all his life but the pressures of self-employment and illness forced him to take some time out of the workplace.

After four years coping with his illness, Darren felt he was ready to return to work. Through a family friend, he was put in contact with Workways+, where he was assigned a personal mentor and found a volunteering placement at Our Place. After two months there, he was offered a job when a vacancy became available.

Darren said "Workways+ couldn't do enough for me. My mentor really helped build my confidence and encouraged me to try something completely new.  They suggested I volunteer, so I started at Our Place and loved it because I was learning new skills and using my skills as a carpenter to help the service users learn, too.

"The team at Our Place really welcomed and encouraged me on my new journey. Being back in work has done wonders for my quality of life. I can't thank the Workways+ staff enough - they really did go above and beyond the call of duty to find me a job."

Lisa Thomas, Manager at Our Place, said: "Darren fitted into the team perfectly, and is great with the service users. You would never have said Darren hadn't worked in the care sector before as he was a complete natural.

"We have worked with Workways+ in the past and we've built up a good relationship, so they know the type of people we're looking for.  We will definitely be using them again."

Phil Holmes, Head of Planning and City Regeneration at Swansea Council, said: "It's hugely satisfying that Darren has been able to find permanent employment thanks to the Workways+ programme.

"This is among several projects that are available to help the long-term unemployed get back into the workplace, boost their confidence and develop their skills.  

"The combination of these projects means we're able to better tackle poverty in communities right across the city."

Workways+ is backed by £7.5m of EU funds through the Welsh Government. The project is led by Neath Port Talbot Council in collaboration with Swansea Council, Carmarthenshire Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Ceredigionshire Council.

Visit or call 01639 684250 to find out more about Workways+.

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