A social enterprise has helped 300 people find jobs – including a former call centre worker who says it’s been “massively life-changing”.
Chris Williams, 35, who hails from Llanfairfechan, faced an uncertain future after his fixed-term contract as a BT customer advisor came to an end.
It turned out to be the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Chris who has recently been promoted to be a site supervisor with Creating Enterprise, having started out as a labourer.
The ground-breaking community interest company is a subsidiary of housing association Cartrefi Conwy for whom they do all maintenance required on their 4,000 properties.
Creating Enterprise was last year named as one of Wales’s fastest growing companies at the Fast Growth 50 Awards and recently revealed plans to invest £1 million in a new factory in Rhyl to make timber frames for zero carbon homes.
All the profits are ploughed into its highly successful Creating Futures Academy.
The academy is designed to help unemployed people find jobs as well as providing training and volunteering opportunities.
Since it was established six years ago Creating Enterprise has helped 300 people find work as well as employing 72 itself.
Ironically, Chris had previously worked as an Employment Support Advisor for the Department of Work and Pensions.
His first job after BT was as a labourer with the planned works team looking after fences and paths for Cartrefi Conwy.
After building up his skills, he started taking a lead role on a number of the jobs, before being appointed as a senior ground worker and more recently as a site supervisor.
He’s now in charge of a team that’s fitting new bathrooms and kitchens at Cartrefi Conwy properties across Conwy as part of the housing association’s ongoing modernisation programme.
According to Chris, he is hugely grateful to Creating Enterprise for the opportunities and training that have enabled him to rise through the ranks.
Chris said: “With their help, I have carved out a career for myself and I absolutely love my job. I want to better myself and I feel here is the best place to be.
“There’s no more satisfying feeling than a job completed with a happy tenant. That’s what we’re here for.
“We’re here to work, to improve ourselves but also we’re here to improve the Cartrefi Conwy properties that we’re working on, to make the tenants satisfied with the work that is carried out. That’s our goal.”
“Working for Creating Enterprise has changed my life massively. It’s given me stability, security and a bright future.”
Adrian Johnson, the Managing Director of Commercial Services at Cartrefi Conwy, was very proud of what Chris had achieved.
He said: “Chris is the perfect embodiment of what Creating Enterprise is all about.
“He started on the ground floor and has made the most of the opportunities and training he has received to progress to his current position as a site supervisor.
“The work being done by Chris and his team is also having a direct and positive impact on the lives of the tenants whose properties they are improving as part of our modernisation programme.
“We have a track record of doing more for our community and helping our tenants into employment and education and through our Creating Futures Academy we are doing even more.
“It’s hugely important for many people because Creating Enterprise is often working with those furthest from the job market.
“Many of the individuals concerned may have been turned off traditionally by education, may have been turned off by actually going on to further education because of what they thought they were capable of or what they can do, and this actually turns that around and turns it on its head.
“Creating Enterprise are demonstrating that these are capable people who can do a lot more than they think, and we’re just giving them that opportunity which is a massive success story.
“The numbers are fantastic, but it’s the individual life stories that you hear that are transformational for them individually and their families. It’s utterly life-changing.”