From education to employment

“Welsh Government support gave me the confidence to change my life for the better,” says Wrexham man after redundancy

A former window and door fabricator who was made redundant has secured a dream role after receiving Welsh Government career support and funding towards a new qualification.

Brian, 47, from Wrexham, was unemployed for just under a year before he came across an advert for the ReAct+ programme which offers those who are out of work or under formal notice of redundancy personalised support tailored to their individual needs.

The support came at the right time for Brian, who found being out of work due to his injury really impacted his mental health.

“My recurring strain injury meant I couldn’t do the day-to-day tasks required for my old role, so with a mutual agreement between me and my employer, I was made redundant.

“I was unemployed for nearly a year and found it really tough. Not being able to work knocked my confidence to the point that I had no get-up and go and I just wasn’t myself.”

After coming across the ReAct+ programme on social media, Brian made the first step to getting himself back on track by meeting with an advisor at Working Wales, a careers advice service for adults.

He continued:

“Picking up the phone and calling Working Wales after seeing the advert was a huge step for me.

“I’d had no motivation for months after my redundancy but seeing there was personalised support available to me brought some hope that I could get back into work even with my injury.”

After an initial discussion with a Working Wales adviser, Brian realised that his ambition of going back into trade and becoming a TIG welder was not as impossible as he first thought.

“I loved working in trade in the early stages of my career, and after experiencing a bit of welding in my previous role, I knew that my dream was to go into TIG welding.

“This felt like an unrealistic vision as I knew that I needed specific qualifications that I didn’t have to get into the industry and was worried that my injury would hold me back.”

Through the ReAct+ programme, Brian was offered £1500worth of funding towards getting a City and Guilds Level 3 Welding qualification and CV advice to put him in the best position when applying for his dream role in TIG welding.

Brian added: “Having the qualification under my belt and knowing I had a strong CV gave me the confidence to approach multiple employers and apply for different jobs in person.”

Brian has now been in his role as Welder at Range Fabrication for four months and says he is the happiest he has been in his career.

He explained: “I absolutely love my job, and am forever grateful to my new employer, Range Fabrication.

“The social side of working in trade and the people I work with make my job so enjoyable, it’s such a supportive atmosphere where you can have a joke and a laugh, but we always have each other’s backs.”

Brian and his wife credit the ReAct+ programme and Working Wales for turning his life around.

He added: “The support I received to get my new role has been invaluable and it has given me a new lease of life.

“Looking back, I was not in a good place during my redundancy, I thought my injury and lack of qualifications would hold me back from entering my dream role.

“My wife also cannot thank Working Wales enough for turning our lives around, she’s so grateful to have Brian back!”

Brian also has strong advice for those who affected by redundancy, or have been out of work.

“If I had one piece of advice it would be don’t give up and believe in yourself and your abilities. I was worried that an employer would think less of me or be reluctant to employ me due to my injury but it’s important not to let an injury or health condition impact your confidence.

“For those who have a health condition, programmes like ReAct+ are there to offer tailored support for your specific needs and give you the chance to change your life for the better.

“You have to believe in yourself, and I’m proof that with the extra training, support, and funding, you can get back to your old self and do a job you love”.

ReAct+ supports those who are out of work or under a notice of redundancy by providing them with a free personalised package of employment support that could include advice, or funding for training.

Individuals facing additional barriers to employment or training may be eligible for a Personal Development Support Grant of up to £500, alongside one to one mentoring and coaching.

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