Jason, from Old Colwyn, is now working as a kitchen porter at Hickory’s Smokehouse in Rhos-on-Sea thanks to the support of Conwy Employment Hub.
In partnership with the restaurant’s placement scheme ‘Smokehouse Stars’ and the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions), the 34 year-old took part in a nine-week course which built his confidence and included sessions on teamwork and communication, how to write a CV and real-time experience.
Conwy Employment Hub - which oversees Communities for Work, PaCE and Communities for Work Plus - was also on hand to provide him with work clothes and shoes, and mentoring advice and guidance via the DWP.
“I really enjoyed the course and am delighted to now have a job at the end of it because the team here at Hickory’s are fantastic, they have made it fun and helped me all the way,” said Jason.
“It was great to meet new friends and learn new skills, and I look forward to learning more."
The Employment Hub removed barriers to me finding and securing this position, so I’ll always be grateful for this opportunity.”
Libby Duo, Strategic Manager for Conwy Employment Service, added:
“We are absolutely thrilled for Jason, he showed great commitment throughout the course and was rewarded with a permanent role.
He fully deserves it, and we wish him every success for the future.”
Communities for Work Adviser Wendy Harrison was also proud of Jason’s achievement and said:
“Jason was very keen to get back into the workplace and to access the nine-week training with Hickory’s.
I’m so pleased, I knew he would do well and I’m sure he will be an asset to the restaurant team.”
A recent labour market report by the North Wales Regional Skills Partnership explored the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on key industries, including tourism and hospitality, which makes up more than 25% of employment in Conwy.
Candidate and skills shortages remain a substantial challenge across the region, a point echoed by Hickory’s Head Chef Luke King.
“Recruitment in this industry has been tough due to the pandemic so initiatives and opportunities like this work placement course are so valuable,” he said.
“Jason has been a terrific asset and has worked hard throughout the process. We are delighted to have him as part of the team.”
Hickory’s Training Programme Coordinator James Taylor added:
“Jason has swiftly become an integral part of the back of house team and has built strong working relationships with those around him.
It's people like Jason joining us at every level that help us keep up with the demands on the industry, they allow us to continue to thrive and grow; they make us better.
It's been a journey and, from the moment Jason stepped through the doors of our Rhos-on-Sea restaurant to the second we handed him his apron, it's one I've been proud to have been a part of.
In just a few months he has gone from strength to strength - he is a different person, and while we’d love to take some credit for it, we can't. We only gave him the tools he needed, through sheer hard work and determination he got himself to where he is today.”