My route into housing has been quite unconventional. I graduated with a BA in Geography and, after 18 months of travelling and working my way around Australia, I eventually ventured into recruitment.
I gained my qualification as a certified recruitment practitioner and set myself a goal to manage my own company; I also had lots of family working in education and always had an interest in this field. I’d been working in recruitment for a couple of years when the opportunity to set up my own recruitment company specialising in education arose.
Working in the education sector was very rewarding. However, I ultimately wanted to work more closely with people so, while my recruitment business ticked over, I took on a part-time role as a Welsh-speaking tutor and undertook a teaching qualification.
I soon branched out from tutoring adults and started delivering essential skills courses to young adults in the Bridgend area. At this point, I also started teaching Welsh as a second language for the University of South Wales.
Juggling these roles while managing a business for two to three years was really rewarding, especially in light of the difference I was able to make to people’s lives by giving them vital life skills.
A friend then told me about what Tai Tarian was trying to achieve with its Copper Foundation – giving people with similar backgrounds to my students the unique opportunity of long-term sustainable employment and training.
The scheme was in its infancy, but they needed someone to head up the project, recruiting, training, nurturing and supporting people with little or no experience of the world of work.
The project excited me and encompassed everything I wanted in a job. The first group of people had just been recruited so it was all really new and something I could really shape from early on.
After two years we have taken on nearly 38 employees and 71% of the people who have completed the programme are now employed.
My prior experience has given me the skills to get the best out of people and it has been so rewarding to see the difference this can make to people’s lives.
The change in some people has been astounding; in 12 months they’ve gone from quiet, timid individuals with little self-belief to successful, confident people with a ‘can-do’ mindset, thanks to some nurturing, training and guidance.
When they complete the programme and are told that they have secured employment, we have succeeded – and there’s no better job satisfaction for me than that.
Aled is Senior Operations Officer with Tai Tarian