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Engage to Change partner ELITE Supported Employment has recently introduced the ‘job club’ in South Wales, an opportunity for participants of the project not currently in work to have contact with our employment advisers and prepare for work.

“It’s definitely helped me to think about what I want to do,” says Harri, 24, from Cardiff. “I’ve been enjoying these sessions and things are going well. I’m looking forward to getting more independence and skills when I start working.”

Harri has been attending the job club in Pontypridd for a couple of months, benefiting from regular one-to-one sessions with employment adviser Sian Blowers from ELITE Supported Employment as he works towards workplace visits and trials in the coming weeks. In his sessions with Sian, they have worked through his interests, his qualifications and his experience as Harri develops his ideas of what he would like to do in future. Job club also encompasses CV building, interview training, travel training, and job searching support. On a busy project with high demand, it keeps young people engaged in preparation for the workplace rather than on a waiting list.

Harri plays the cornet, the piano, and has interest in numerous other instruments. He studied music in college, and his interests and experience mean that he is keen to work at a musical venue. Sian has been supporting Harri to look into the opportunities that may be available to him at the Wales Millennium Centre, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and The Globe, among other venues of interest.

Sian Blowers believes that the job club one-to-one meetings are a beneficial first step into work for Engage to Change’s young people as they happen outside of the home and function as a way to build participants’ confidence before starting employment.  As with all other aspects of the Engage to Change project, the job club is flexible, person-centred and tailored to individual needs – the frequency and length of attendance, the amount of work needed during the sessions, and the type of support needed during the session. Sian and the other employment advisers running the job clubs put together an individual action plan to be followed by each participant.

Job club gives Harri and other Engage to Change participants the space, time, and support to explore their options and ensure that when they are matched to a work placement, it is the right one for them. With the help of job club, they are prepared for potential challenges such as job applications, interviews, and travelling to the workplace. Job clubs are running in locations across South Wales such as Pontypridd, Cardiff, and Monmouth on a weekly basis, with young people attending throughout the day for hourly appointments with employment advisers.