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“I deal with finance, I make notes as to what people have spent and how, I do some filing, and make notes of cheques.” It sounds like Sam Ingram from Penarth is enjoying his paid work placement at Cartrefi Cymru – it gives him the opportunity to utilise and develop some of the skills he’s learned from his various experiences at college, at university, and in volunteering roles.

Since November, Sam has been working at the Cartrefi Cymru offices in Cardiff for a couple of days a week. Following his travel training with Tracey from ELITE, he can describe down to the minutest detail how he gets to work for every shift, but it’s no surprise – Sam used to travel regularly back and forth from Swindon to attend college.

His work at Cartrefi Cymru has enabled him to meet new people and expand his circles, as well as develop his communication skills and his knowledge and experience of roles in finance while using specialist financial management systems such as SunSystems and CRIS (current research information systems). His job coach Brandon from ELITE has supported him to learn new tasks, but Sam employs his own strategies, such as charts and lists, to help him remember what must be done. While he would be happy to stay at Cartrefi Cymru longer-term and to go into the office more often, he feels that these strategies and the skills he’s developing in the workplace will help him to work towards becoming an environmentalist.

Sam has also been able to develop his skills volunteering at the Marie Curie shop in Penarth town centre for the last several years, where he enjoys working the till and interacting with customers. He’s also volunteered at Ysgol y Deri, where he was previously a pupil. Sam was proud to be honoured at an award ceremony in London last December for his extensive volunteer work.

In his spare time, Sam is passionate about running his YouTube channel, where he’s uploaded almost 200 videos. He has also chosen to take up a caring role for his 93 year old grandmother, who lives in an annex of the family home. He assists her to cook, clean, do odd jobs and run errands.

Of the Engage to Change project, Sam’s father Keith says “I like the fact that it’s focused on, rather than simply ‘we’ll create a job for you to do’, but a realistic prospect of having a job at the end of it, instead of simply a job for six months.” He would like to see Sam’s involvement in the project turn into a longer-term role he can hold down that enables him to become independent. Sam himself would like this too. “At first I can’t be independent but I will learn to be independent. That was the case at college.”