Pete cooks up a meal fit for a king at Cardiff Castle

An aspiring chef from Cardiff has described how a Welsh Government scheme to help long-term unemployed people get back into work has changed his life, helping him to realise his culinary dreams.

The Lift programme aims to provide 5,000 training and employment opportunities by the end of 2017 for people who have been out of work for more than six months and face barriers to employment. Since its launch in March 2014, the scheme has already provided 953 opportunities for people across Wales.

The Cardiff East Lift Programme – which is being delivered by Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA) – is progressing well and has provided 131 training and employment opportunities since it started taking referrals in May.

One of those to benefit is Pete Dorset, a former CCHA tenant. When he was referred to the Lift programme earlier this year, Pete had been out of work for nearly two years and was struggling to find employment.

Staff at the Cardiff East Lift programme provided one-to-one support for Pete, working with him and other agencies to overcome obstacles which may otherwise have prevented him from seeking employment. They helped Pete with job searches, to rewrite his CV and improve his interview techniques.

As a result of this support, Pete was successful in securing a work experience placement in the Cardiff Castle restaurant where he continued to take part in relevant training courses. The Lift team’s ongoing support has enabled Pete to secure a full-time position at the restaurant.

“My life before just felt like a waste,” said Pete, “But now that I’ve got this opportunity, I’m so happy, I’m over the moon!

Carmen, his manager in the restaurant, is full of praise for Pete:

“He’s doing fantastically well. I’ve noticed such a huge improvement since he started, he’s much more confident with the customers now, and always turns up early and rearing to go for his shifts! He gets on with everyone, and we’re really happy to have him with us.”

The Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths, today met Pete and the team at the Cardiff East Lift Programme to see first hand how the scheme is helping local people.

Lesley Griffiths said:

“We know employment is the best route out of poverty, enabling people to live stable, fulfilled lives.

“Lift is providing people across Wales with the support they need to make a change which will have a lasting and positive impact on their futures.

“The programme in Cardiff is an excellent example of how people are really benefitting from Lift’s tailored support and advice. I’m delighted to see how the scheme has helped Pete into full time employment and I wish him the very best as he progresses in his new career.”

Stuart Ropke, Group Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said:

“As a sector we provide so much more than bricks and mortar. We play a key role in combating poverty by helping people back into work. Our sector has committed to providing over one thousand employment and training opportunities as part of Welsh Government’s Lift Programme.

“It was great to meet Pete today and to hear how he has benefited first hand from the Cardiff East Project, hosted by CCHA. The Lift Programme is a great example of successful partnership working – making a real difference to people right across Wales.”

Natalie Pillinger, Senior Mentor for the Cardiff East Lift Programme, said:

“Pete’s case is a perfect example of how our support can help people to take positive steps to change their lives. We are already making a huge difference both to CCHA tenants and the wider community”.

Pete, who has always had a passion for food, hopes this position will help him progress in the world of catering:

“My ultimate goal is to become a chef, so this job is definitely a step in the right direction, and is helping me to realise my dreams. And the view from my office is amazing!”