10,000th Jobs Growth Wales participant Chloe lands design job of her dreams

A graduate who was unemployed for a year before landing her dream role has been honoured at an event celebrating a milestone for Jobs Growth Wales.

Chloe Bignell, from Llanelli, is the 10,000th person to have secured a job with Jobs Growth Wales – the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund-backed programme which provides unemployed young people with a six-month paid job opportunity.

Twenty-two-year-old Chloe was guest of honour at the event at Cardiff Bay’s Pierhead Building last week, attended by First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones, and Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates.

The event invited young people and employers from across Wales to celebrate their success through the flagship youth employment programme.

Chloe, who lives in Llanerch, graduated with a 2:1 degree in Graphic Design from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and spent the next 12 months attempting to take her first step into the industry.

“I was sending out around a CV a week, I applied for 30 jobs in the local area, but I didn’t receive a single invitation to interview,” she said.

“It seemed as if nobody was willing to take on a junior designer without at least five years’ experience. I was at the stage that I would have had just take any job available. I was about to apply for a job at the local library, something entirely unrelated to what I had worked towards.

“Being unemployed was difficult and I was starting to lose sense of what I wanted to do. I was contemplating leaving design altogether as it didn’t seem a viable career option.”

Chloe then discovered the Jobs Growth Wales programme which offered a six-month job opportunity at Llanelli design firm ATECH Signs and has now started work as a junior designer with the prospect of a permanent job on the horizon.

According to latest figures, 82% of young people working in the private sector progressed into sustained employment, an apprenticeship or further learning after completing their Jobs Growth Wales six month opportunities.

“I love my job,” said Chloe. “At the moment, I’m working on a Mini that is being transformed into a race car. That’s been really exciting. It’s my job to fit the graphics to the dramatically-altered metal work for the client – a racing fan who loves Minis.”

Chloe was offered her job opportunity at the company, based at Trostre Industrial Park, through Cambrian Training. “I took it straight away,” she said.

“It’s provided me with the opportunity to follow my career choice that I wouldn’t have had otherwise and I am really enjoying it. The people I work with are amazing and teach me as I go along – there’s a lot to learn and I’m already building up my practical skills.

“I’m at my happiest when I’m being creative and at school I loved art – when I was younger I never realised it was something I could actually get paid to do every day.”

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones said:

“Jobs Growth Wales is an unparalleled success story. I am deeply proud of just how many young people have now been helped into meaningful, paid job opportunities that pave the way to full-time employment.

“Let’s be in no doubt about the impact this programme has had on reducing youth unemployment. These opportunities would simply not have existed were it not for Jobs Growth Wales. Today’s event is all about celebrating young people like Chloe and their employers. Without their support, commitment and enthusiasm, Jobs Growth Wales would not been the success it is now”