Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA) has seen 35 of its tenants take up employment following mentoring support from its jobs programme.

The Jobs, Experience, Training and Support (JETS) programme was launched by CCHA to take a proactive approach in providing tenants the opportunity to get their feet on the job ladder, through intensive one-to-one mentoring support.

Almost 100 tenants have been supported in the last year by JETS mentors, with 60 training courses being completed. A quarter of those supported were lone parents.

One tenant who received support from JETS is Tracy Reynolds, a 43-year-old single mother living in Roath. Tracy has been a CCHA tenant for 11 years and heard about the programme after attending a back-to-work session at her local job centre. She was referred to JETS by her housing officer, where she was given the resources and support to gain her Security Industry Authority (SIA) training and licence.

Tracy said of the programme: “I am extremely grateful for the help and support I received from CCHA and the JETS programme; it has really boosted my confidence. They made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that I had finally broken through an invisible barrier that I had been facing when trying to gain the SIA licence by myself. The JETS team are always encouraging, helpful and supportive, their help has been invaluable to me and the sense of achievement after gaining my licence was exhilarating.

“I would certainly recommend JETS to anyone in a similar situation who needs help getting back into work or to pursue a career path that requires preliminary training. With the help I received from JETS, I can now look forward to gaining my CCTV licence which I am saving to do by the end of this year and will hopefully lead a to a much more fulfilling role.”

Tracy is also a self-published author, with several books under her belt, including Nazareth House, which is based on her mother’s experience being orphaned as a baby and growing up as one of the last set of children to be looked after by the nuns at Nazareth House in Cardiff. Tracy added: “Writing and publishing Nazareth House was a dream come true and it showed me that anything is possible, which is the same attitude that I approached the JETS programme, as well as my SIA course. If you want something, you should always try to achieve it and programmes like JETS are there to give you the help you need.”

The JETS programme takes a holistic approach by addressing the needs of each individual and them receiving one-to-one mentoring support from the outset. This allows them to support the tenant’s aspirations and goals when it comes to work and a career. The programme supports those who are unemployed, but also those who are experiencing in-work poverty.

Sue Anscombe, Community and Regeneration Manager at CCHA commented: “The JETS programme has done a fantastic job in helping our tenants get the help they need to start their journey into the world of work, or those who are looking to upskill and take a new direction.

“The bespoke nature of the programme means that each of our tenants receives a personal development plan, which we feel gives them the boost they need to get that lightbulb moment and be able to move forward. It’s about working together to get the best outcome, so that more of our tenants gain meaningful and sustainable employment.”

Through its community benefits scheme, CCHA works with its development partners to offer apprenticeships, as construction is a popular option for tenants looking to get into employment and learn a trade, which can then be accessed through the JETS programme.

CCHA also runs pre-employment training through its Reach programme and is offering tenants and individuals in the wider community, the opportunity to receive counselling, access volunteering opportunities and increase skills, training and qualifications with one-to-one support from a dedicated mentor.

For more information about JETS, Reach and CCHA, visit www.ccha.org.uk