A mobile jobs and training service has been launched to help unemployed people in Conwy find work.
The new Jobs Bus is the brainchild of Creating Enterprise, a subsidiary set up by housing association Cartrefi Conwy.
The social enterprise was the first of its kind in Wales when it was established four years ago and has a pioneering Employment Academy.
As a result last year Creating Enterprise help 39 unemployed tenants find paid work.
The Jobs Bus is available to all “hard-to-reach” unemployed people in the county, not just Cartrefi Conwy tenants.
It will be out an about every Wednesday afternoon between 1.30pm and 4pm and in turn will be located at Llanfairfechan, Penmaenmawr, Kinmel Bay, Abergele, Llandudno and Llanrwst.
As well as supporting those looking for work, the team will also be available to provide advice on things like Universal Credit.
Employment support officer Richard Chance said: “The idea behind the Jobs Bus is to help hard-to-reach people who are falling through the cracks in the system.
“The aim is to help them look for work and get them interested in looking for jobs at their location, rather than overcoming that first barrier of travelling to a Job Centre.
“We’re taking all of the resources to them so we help them with CVs and application forms.
“The mountain will be very much going to Mohammad because taking that first step for people can be difficult.
“This service is open to anyone and is not confined to Cartrefi Conwy tenants – they could be people in long-term unemployment or recently unemployed or even somebody looking for a change in their career.
“Funding to convert the bus has been provided by the Big Lottery fund. The bus has been kitted out with four desks for job searching. The Travis Perkins community fund is supporting the running cost of the Jobs Bus for the next 12 months.”
“Each week we’ll be bringing a ‘special guest’ from a partner agency like the Prince’s Trust, Veterans’ Hub, Careers Wales and Remploy.”
Among those providing support is Jason Palmer, voluntary veterans officer of the Conwy Voluntary Service via their Veterans’ Hub which was established to help ex-service personnel.
Jason knows how difficult it can be readjusting to life in Civvy Street as he is himself ex-Army.
He was badly injured in Afghanistan in 2010 when the Jackal armoured vehicle he was travelling in was blown up by an improvised explosive device.
The former Royal Welsh fusilier, whose back was broken in three places, also suffered a collapsed lung, broken shoulder blade, internal injuries to his spleen and spinal cord damage.
Jason now runs the local Veterans’ Hub which was set up to help and provide support ex-service personnel.
He said: “It can be extremely difficult coming back into Civvy Street at times but on the plus side an ex-service person has a great deal to offer.
“You actually get a lot more probably from an ex service person in respect of their skillset, so their individual ability in terms of things like their loyalty, their ability to actually transcend from different job roles into new ones quite quickly.
“Training and upskilling can be quite easy for people who are from forces backgrounds.
“I think the Jobs Bus is absolutely fantastic and will be particularly effective in getting out to the communities that probably feel slightly more distant in terms of it’s not always easy to access services within the big towns like Llandudno or Colwyn Bay.
“It will provide the perfect platform to support people within these more rural communities. It’s definitely needed.”
To check out the Jobs Bus timetable go to: https://www.creatingenterprise.org.uk/en/jobs-bus-set-to-get-people-back-on-the-road-to-employment/