20 Feb 2013

The Bevan Foundation is the latest organisation to back Jobs Growth Wales – the Welsh Government’s job creation scheme for young people.

After accessing funding last year, they created a research position through the third sector strand of the programme which is managed by WCVA.

Local graduate Cath Davies, 23, from Merthyr, was appointed to the role which she describes as the perfect introduction into the working world.

 Cath4

She said: 'I've always wanted to work for a charity - that's been my goal since before I started University because it's such a rewarding area of work.

'It's been incredible that things have come together so well. Not only in terms of working for such a well respected organisation, but also for the job to be based in my home town.'

Reflecting on the time she spent job-hunting after leaving University, Cath points to a lack of experience being the crucial factor in preventing young people get a foothold on the employment ladder.

'I worked part-time as a cleaner after graduating and ended up doing that for four months before I got this job with the Bevan Foundation.

'I was applying for jobs every week but the problem was always that I had no real experience. It got incredibly daunting because there's so much competition for jobs at the moment and I realised there would be people applying for the same jobs with experience to offer employers.

'The novelty of having no commitments after leaving education wore off very quickly and it was pretty soul destroying after a while. I was quite lucky because I still live at home, but I know people in different circumstances are finding it very tough.

'University doesn't completely prepare you for the world of work, so I've learnt a huge amount since I started this job - in particular my communication skills - and I'd like to think I've become a bit more organised too!

'Because it's a small organisation, I'm getting a range of experience and doing something different every week. It's also really opened my eyes to current affairs in Wales and issues that are affecting people and communities.

'As well as the research side of things, I've developed an interest in working on our membership, fundraising and how we put our message across.

'Getting into work has also improved my lifestyle considerably, allowed me to start thinking about the future with a bit more clarity and it's helped me pay off my overdraft which was a big relief!

'I'm a lot more positive about my prospects now because I know I'm gaining very valuable experience and skills here.'

Director at the Bevan Foundation, Victoria Winckler, added her support of the programme: 'Jobs Growth Wales has been absolutely fantastic. We would have struggled to recruit and develop Cath without it because we're a small organisation and earn our income as a social enterprise in much the same way as a small business.

'So it's been good for us and good for Cath. It was also lovely to be able to offer the role to somebody from Merthyr. We actually had applications from far afield but I'm delighted that the role is helping an area with especially high unemployment and where there aren't many graduate opportunities either.

'We're really pleased, and not only has the job given Cath a range of skills to develop, it's also given us an insight into what young unemployed people can bring.'

Employability Programmes Manager at WCVA, Gail Dervish, added: 'The third sector strand of Jobs Growth Wales is creating jobs in areas of Wales that often suffer from a lack of opportunity.

'It's excellent news that organisations like the Bevan Foundation are accessing funding and bringing real diversity and quality to the programme.'