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Port Talbot’s Employability Centre to be One of Eleven Projects that will See Over £30m Invested in the Area

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Minister welcomes progress on a project to help people onto job ladder

On a recent visit to Port Talbot, Lesley Griffiths Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty saw first-hand the progress made in turning the old Aberavon fire station building into a community based Employability Centre to help local people into jobs.

Minister00005The Employability Centre is one of eleven projects which will see over £30m invested in and around Port Talbot as part of a three year regeneration programme.

One of the key outcomes for the programme is to provide additional training and employment opportunities for local people on construction projects such as this one.

On her visit, the Minister met Tom Ramsey and Joseff Williams, two apprentices employed on this project by Port Talbot based CJ Construction.

Thomas Ramsey, a carpentry apprentice, started working for CJ as a labourer and has now progressed to a Level 2 carpentry apprenticeship. He said:

“The work to turn this derelict building into a community employment centre means that I can continue my apprenticeship and develop valuable, onsite experience to help me progress to become a skilled tradesperson.”

Joseff Williams is undertaking a Level 3 Diploma in Construction and Civil Engineering.  He currently works on site for four and a half days and another half day in college.  Joseff, from Jersey Marine, Neath wants to progress into a project manager role.

He said:

“This project is a great opportunity for me to progress and to experience a build from start to finish.”

The £370k project presents a real opportunity to not only bring a derelict but prominent building back into use, but to develop a community regeneration project, providing services to the local population within their own community.

The centre is located within the Aberavon Communities First cluster area and in close proximity to the town centre and central transport links making it an ideal venue to provide accessible services to people including those furthest from the job market.

The Centre will provide a range of employment and support services and community facilities, including pre-employment courses, mentoring and vocational workshops.

There will also be office space for rent, hot desking facilities and spaces for use by community groups.

Neath Port Talbot Council secured £10.1million funding from the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places (VVP) programme to undertake a number of Regeneration projects in the town centre, working alongside key partners.

Councillor Ali Thomas OBE, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said: “I am pleased to see the old fire station building brought back into good use for the benefit of the local community.”

“Creating local job opportunities is one of our key priorities and it is great to see apprentices employed on this project to gain as much experience as possible.”

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, said: “It is great to visit the Employability Centre and hear from Tom and Joseff how Welsh Government support is making a real difference to their lives. It was wonderful to hear how passionate they are about their new careers!

“The Employability Centre is just one of eleven regeneration projects in Neath Port Talbot supported with over £10 million of Welsh Government funding. This significant programme of regeneration will improve community facilities, create new homes and businesses, boost the local economy and provide essential jobs and training opportunities.”

Work is expected to be completed by the end of April and the Centre will then be managed by NSA Afan