Crest Success Stories
A FATHER has won a battle with unemployment, thanks to a housing association and social enterprise partnership.
Cartrefi Conwy tenant David Gathern, 33, from Old Colwyn, suffered unemployment for more than two years.
The former Waste Management worker struggled to get interviews for jobs during his period of unemployment, despite sending his CV out to potential employers on a daily basis.
David came to social enterprise Crest Co-operative as a volunteer in October 2012. He was soon offered a paid job role with Crest Co-operative, working on a Cartrefi Conwy fencing painting contract in the Peulwys housing estate, Old Colwyn.
In March 2013 David was offered an extended contract on a new 12 month agreement with Crest Co-operative and Cartrefi Conwy . This role involved working in a team to clear unoccupied Cartrefi Conwy properties that became vacant or ‘voids.’ The second part of the job role was to join a team of reactive maintenance workers, working to clear waste after repairs and maintenance had been carried out.
David has secured a permanent job role working for Crest Co-operative as Assistant Operations Manager.
He will now be line managing a small team, as part of the 12 month Crest Co-operative and Cartrefi Conwy agreement. He will also be responsible for health and safety, compliance and electrical re-use, as part of his role with Crest Co-operative.
David Gathern said: “It’s great to have a secure job now. I came to Crest Co-operative because I knew that they helped people to feel socially included and they have strong ethics.
“From a Cartrefi Conwy tenants point of view it’s great to be involved in all the work that they are doing for the community.
“I’m enjoying the opportunity that I’ve been given and my confidence has improved,” he added.
Rod Williams, Operations Director at Crest Co-operative, said: “David’s willingness to volunteer, and his flexible working approach really impressed me. He is keen to learn, which is why he has developed his skills and knowledge and secured full time employment at Crest. He is now managing his own team, and he is working to strengthen Crest Co-operative’s partnership with Cartrefi Conwy.”
Andrew Bowden, Chief Executive at Cartrefi Conwy, said: It’s great to see the real difference our partnership with Crest Co-operative is making to peoples life.
“We are constantly looking at ways in which we can create sustainable communities to be proud of and this is excellent example of what can be achieved.”
Crest’s ACE Scheme
Established in 1998, evolving from work with Criminal Justice Agencies. Targeted at offenders who, as a result of their history, experienced significant (multiple) barriers in securing and sustaining employment in the mainstream economy.
Logan Jones, 25 from Llandudno
“…if it wasn’t for Crest I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Logan joined the ACE programme at Crest Co-Operative at the end of 2009. He had been unemployed for around five years and had faced rejections from potential employers due to limited experience.
With the help of Crest Logan gained qualifications and recognised certificates in various working practices. He said “I came away with a health and safety certificate and learnt to work as a team. It made me feel more positive.”
Logan was quickly snapped up by Crest’s partner construction company G Purchase as a Site cleaner and has worked to put finishing touches to new developments across Conwy. He said“I really enjoy my job and if it wasn’t for Crest I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Dave Sharp, 39 from Kinmel Bay
“If it wasn’t for Crest I would be still be trying to find a job.”
Former boxing coach Dave Sharp was referred to Crest after a four month period of unemployment last year. He said “I not no help from the government, it was really hard. I struggled and had to take on volunteer work, but I had a family to support. When I found out about Crest it was great. I learnt to be a team player, I got health and safety certificates.”
Dave’s hard working approach to his 16 week ACE work placement at Crest was soon recognised by employer G. Purchase and he was offered a job as a driver. He said “I was ecstatic. I had low expectations and coming to Crest made me more open minded. It gave me more confidence. If it wasn’t for Crest I would still be trying to find a job.”
In just six months Dave was promoted to Warehouse Manager for the construction firm and is now responsible for managing eight employees. He said “I would say anyone who wants to get back into work to contact Crest. You’ll get a regular wage. Crest will open doors and give you direction and all the support you need. It worked for me.”
Kyle Evitt, 22 from Rhyl
“When I got work experience through Crest, employers started to look at me in a different way, it was more positive.”
Kyle Evitt was referred to Crest in 2009 by the probation service.
The 22 year old overcame a three year unemployment battle and joined Crest’s ACE scheme. He said “I had brilliant support. My computer skills improved. I had to do a presentation and this built my confidence. When I got work experience through Crest, employers started to look at me in a different way, it was more positive.”
Kyle was employed by a local firm as a van assistant, when his placement at Crest came to an end. He said “I really enjoy it. I get a regular wage, my life is better.”
Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) Scheme
Established at Crest in 2009 to combat long-term unemployment.
Led to the introduction of an additional ILM project which combines the aims of ACE and the current scheme. This project has been set-up for 2010 and was given a £411,000 cash injection from the European Social Fund and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).
Mike Hobson, 22 from Llandudno
Former soldier, Mike Hobson began Crest’s Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) placement in 2010. Within a year the 22 year old attracted the attention of a local construction company, who offered him a position as a Driver’s Assistant.
Mike said “I was in the army for four years and unemployed for a year. Thanks to Crest I go manual handling and first aid qualifications. Crest helped me get back into the working routine and to get a job at the end of my placement.”
Emma Davies, 27 from Mochdre
“I owe so much to Crest, without them this would never happened for me.”
Mother of two, Emma Davies, was left frustrated after employers were reluctant to offer her jobs due to lack of work experience.
Emma said “From leaving school to having my daughter I was unemployed for about six years. I was in the job centre one day and I just burst into tears out of frustration. I had no work qualifications and no experience.
They told me about Crest’s ILM programme, where I could get admin experience.”
Emma was keen to become involved in any projects in the third sector and used Crest’s contacts to gain experience in areas such as events management.
The hard working 27 year old has now set up her own creative events management company. She said “I owe so much to Crest, without them this would have never happened for me. My company Ysbryd Y Ddraig, Spirit of the Dragon, help to manage a wide variety of evens from community projects, charity and freelance fundraising to original and upcoming live music.”
“The skills I gained at Crest have allowed me to go on and work with other organisations with a large social and environment conscience. I take control of all forms of event organisation, from sourcing funds, design ideas and promotion, to managing the entire project” she added.
Work Opportunities for adults with learning/physical disabilities.
Natasha Lee, Member of Crest’s Work Opportunities Team
“Natasha really enjoys the work. Crest has been fantastic for her.” Julie Lee, Natasha’s mother.
Natasha joined Crest’s Work Opportunities Team in 2009. The scheme was established to allow adult’s with learning/physical disabilities to experience the working environment, building skills and developing confidence. The textile department was established to bring social inclusion to the workplace and give individuals the chance to gain experience in a range of job roles including sorting textiles, developing their numerical skills by counting goods and preparing Crest’s kerbside collection bags. The team are joined by dedicated support workers, who are on hand to ensure they get the best out of their placements.
Natasha’s mother, Julie Lee, said her daughter’s confidence has increased since she started the scheme. She said “Natasha really enjoys the work, Crest has been fantastic for her. She gets all the support she needs. There is so much variety. She loves getting her wages. She talks about the things she has done at work when she gets home. She has also made some great friends,” she added.
Ann Bland, 57 from Llysfaen
“At Crest it was different. They didn’t just look at my disability, they could see the person.”
After suffering an injury in an accident Ann, who had previously worked as the Head Housekeeper for a Colwyn Bay Hotel, suffered a six year period of unemployment.
Ann found it difficult to walk without mobility aids due to painful arthritis, which had developed as a result of the accident. She required two walking sticks.
Determined to get back into work, Ann attended several interviews. She said “all people could see was the sticks, they didn’t see the person and it was frustrating for me. I just needed a chance to see how I could cope getting back into work.
I found out about Crest through the job centre. At Crest it was different. They didn’t just look at my disability, they could see the person. I volunteered and built up my confidence, soon I only needed one walking stick, because I had become more mobile.”
Ann’s progress and determination to get back into work had impressed Crest and job centre staff, and she was recommended for government funding. Crest was approached by a government funded organisation who were keen to get Ann back into paid employment and fund her wages. Soon after a position became available at Crest Community Store and Crest Management recognised Ann’s hard-work by appointing her as a member of staff.
Ann said “Crest built up my confidence, I had lost it as I had been out of work for so long. I just really enjoy coming to work. It has changed my life.”