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West Wales Youngsters Get a Kickstart at a Career in Tourism

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Seventeen young people from West Wales are currently benefiting from training and work experience in Pembrokeshire’s vital tourism sector thanks to an initiative being run by one of the area’s largest employers.

Up to thirty 16-to-24-year-olds will eventually benefit from the UK-government Kickstart programme being run by Bluestone National Park Resort near Narberth, with management at the resort praising the hard work and determination so far that the individuals have put into their roles.

The programme is one part of the Bluestone Academy, an initiative set up by the short-break resort to support job and career opportunities in West Wales. Kickstart, in conjunction with JobCentre Plus, aims to get unemployed young people on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment onto a work-based training placement.

At the end of their experience, they can apply for a job at Bluestone. They are also offered free transport to and from work along with other employees. This helps reduce the barrier of getting to work for many people.

“Many of these young people have not been given a chance to demonstrate their abilities in a work environment for various reasons,” said Helen John, Academy Manager at Bluestone.

“Kickstart gives them a chance to undertake a structured six-month work and training programme, providing an insight into the opportunities that are available to them now and in the future.”

“We’ve been amazed at the enthusiasm and professionalism many of these young people have shown during their time with us. It’s demonstrated how many young people can fall between gaps when it comes to employment.”

Molly, who joined the programme in July has already been offered a job at the resort’s Well Spa as a therapist.

“I would never have considered a role like this before. As soon as I began working here, I realised it was something that I enjoyed and wanted to do as a job,” said Molly. “The experience would not have been possible without Bluestone, and I wouldn’t be in the lucky position I am now with a full-time job to look forward to.”

Bluestone is providing training and experience in a wide range of careers. These include sustainability, IT, marketing, guest services, maintenance, leisure, hospitality, and retail.

Oscar has been working in the Food and Beverage department. Often a fast-paced environment, his personality and nature has helped him gain the admiration of colleagues and guests at the resort.

His whole department nominated him for Employee of the Month because of the positive feedback from customers.

“I like dealing with and talking to people. The training and experience I’ve gained has opened my eyes to the range of jobs I can do and enjoy, whilst being paid. I’ve never been given such an opportunity before,” said Oscar.

Helen said the Kickstart programme has been extended until March 2022 with additional funding from the UK government and we are looking to employ a further two cohorts of young people before this deadline.

She added:

“We believe their training and work experience will benefit tourism and hospitality businesses throughout West Wales as well as giving so many young people the opportunity of an exciting and rewarding career.”

More details about careers at Bluestone, including opportunities through the Bluestone Academy and Kickstart programme can be found at www.bluestonewales.com/careers .