Meet Lorraine from the Opportunities Hub

26th April 2024

“๐—œ ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ฎ ๐—ท๐—ผ๐—ฏ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜€. ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—น๐˜† ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ, ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜โ€™๐˜€ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ธ.”

โ€œIโ€™ve had a varied work-life. I worked on cruise lines for a few years, in the Caribbean and the Bahamas, and travelled the world. I did a bit of everything, like looking after the guests, dealing with complaints, selling tours, onboard credit and then when we were at sea Iโ€™d be doing the vessel clearance, port papers and lost luggage.

โ€œNot every day was funโ€ฆ One time we left a hundred suitcases in a truck on the key in Miami and sailed off, and then they had to try and get them flown into the next port. Overall, it was great because you do things youโ€™d never do here in the UK like snorkelling with stingrays and swimming with dolphins.

โ€œI worked there for three and half years, doing 12-month contracts. I came back because it was hard work, I just wanted a normal life and not to be on call 24/7.

โ€œBefore that, I studied and worked in Germany, after studying German at school and falling in love with the language and culture. I then completed my degree in European Business and German there. I was just trying to improve my language skills and I was put in a factory with no English speakers which helped me learn very quickly. My favourite thing about living there was the people. I wasnโ€™t keen on the food at first, but I got used to that.

โ€œWhen I came back from the cruise lines, I worked at Gower College Swansea for over seven years before getting a job at Communities First which led to where I am now. Now Iโ€™m an Employability Mentor for Communities for Work+ in the Quadrantโ€™s Opportunities Hub. Communities for Work+ is a Welsh Government Programme supporting residents over 20 years old into sustainable employment.

โ€œI work with all different types of people, from 20 years old and up. The project is for people who are long term unemployed, people who are made redundant in the previous 6 months if they are not in employment, education or training (NEET) or those who have complex barriers. CfW+ definition of complex barriers to employment are; disabled people and individuals who have a health condition that impacts on their ability to work, black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals, young people aged 20-24 years old not in employment, education, or training, individuals over 50 years of age, people with low/no skills (defined as only having qualifications at Level 2 or below), carers and parents with childcare as a barrier to employment.

โ€œWe get quite a lot of walk-ins now that weโ€™ve got a Hub in the Quadrant. People walk in, we do a referral, we find out a bit about them, find out what theyโ€™re looking for, what theyโ€™ve done before, and think about next steps with them.

โ€œI love speaking to people, I am a people person. Youโ€™ve got to love chatting to people and getting to know them. I love that this can be life changing for some people. Iโ€™ve got 50 people into work already, this year. Everybodyโ€™s different, and every day is different.

โ€œI had a lady who hadnโ€™t worked for 15 years while bringing up her family. She had depression, no self-confidence. I put her on some security training, and she went off and did fantastically well. She got a job in the G7 Summit in Cornwall and then I found her a job in the council, where she is now.

โ€œI often say a job is like waiting for a bus. You could wait forever and suddenly three buses come at the same time, and thatโ€™s how opportunities tend to work.

โ€œJust walk in here and have a chat. The first step is to walk in.โ€

Communities for Work+ Swansea and Gweithio Abertawe-Swansea Working are Welsh Government Programmes run by Swansea Council.

The Opportunities Hub is located next to the Quadrant’s Bus Station entrance. Open from Monday to Saturday between 10am to 3pm.