Covering: Bridgend, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent & Torfaen.
Over the past year the project has engaged with more than 150 unemployed people from BME backgrounds across the South Wales Valleys. These individuals have been supported using a variety of methods according to their needs.
Many have been enrolled onto English Classes (ESOL) as it has been necessary to improve their language skills before finding employment.
We have worked collaboratively with key partners across the 6 boroughs in order to refer people to classes in their local areas. In cases where there has been a lack of provision we have set up classes in partnership with the WEA and have been able to offer accredited classes at no cost to the learners.
Last September we set up sewing taster classes with an aim of breaking isolation for specific participants in Merthyr. It was apparent that a small number of people we were supporting were isolated geographically and along with language barriers they were just not accessing any provision. In order to overcome this barrier a 5 week sewing taster club was set up in conjunction with the WEA. The sessions proved to be a valuable tool for engaging a specific target group and having brought them together many went on to attend English classes and other provision thereafter.
Courses & Qualifications
Although mainstream providers deliver community courses in our target areas they tend to be less accessible to our client group. For example, learners who do not speak English as a first language tend to learn at a slower pace and take in information differently as they have to translate and process the information from English to their mother tongue and then reply in English. This is the same with courses that require written exams. Other barriers to learning can include the following:
Lack of awareness of existing services
Isolation, fear of accessing services alone
Lack of confidence in spoken or written English ability
No national insurance number (often a requirement at enrolment)
No recourse to public funds
In recognition of the barriers we have been working in partnership with a training company who has experience in supporting those with language barriers and additional needs to gain qualifications. They are able to create an environment where our learners are comfortable and can really get to grips with the courses without worrying about others rushing ahead or making them feel uncomfortable if they need extra clarification.
During the past 12 months the following courses have been accessed by our participants:
ESOL (English classes)
CSCS (construction) in various languages
Health & Safety
Emergency First Aid
Beauty taster courses
Manicure taster courses
We have also supported participants to access Further & Higher Education courses including courses for Degree’s and Masters. As well as sourcing child free or subsidised child care facilities while participants are on training.
Outcomes & Achievements During the past 12 months we have supported participants to achieve in excess of 350 outcomes. Some of these outcomes include:
Entering Full time employment
Entering Further learning
Attending job interviews
If you would like to receive support to find employment, wish to refer someone or simply to find out more about the Valrec Increasing BME Employment & Tackling Economic Inactivity project please feel free to contact :
Senior Economic Inactivity Officer
The Valleys Regional Equality Council