“I’ve been given the chance I needed to turn my life around”
Barrie Allgate, 25, originally from Peckham in South London, left school with few qualifications and got caught up in a life of gangs, crime and drugs.
After being in and out of prison several times he finally decided he needed to turn his life around after finding out his girlfriend was pregnant with their first child.
With family living in Porth, he decided to relocate to South Wales and start a new life for himself and his young family. Less than 12 months on he has acquired his construction site qualification, and is on the road to securing a full-time job.
Barrie said: “I feel like I’ve come so far in the last 18 months. I only came out of prison in February 2016 but when I did I knew I was never going back and was determined to make a new start for myself, my partner and our young son.
“Moving away from everything and everyone who made my life a misery was the best thing I ever did. Since joining the Employability Skills Programme my life has changed in so many ways.
“I spent six months volunteering as a labourer for Trivallis, in the environmental team and did everything from house clearance and cleaning to garden maintenance and construction.
“During that time they helped me complete my Construction Skills Certification and gain the qualification I needed to work as a labourer on a construction site.
“I’m also learning to drive, as I get a free driving lesson for every 15 hours I work, so I’m hoping to be good enough to pass my test in the next couple of months which will provide me with the freedom to work anywhere I can get a job.
Building a new life
“Since finishing my six-month voluntary placement I’ve been given a six-month temporary contract as a multi-skilled operative working in the environmental team and hope to gain permanent employment either with Trivallis or on a construction site after this contract ends.
“I came to Wales less than twelve months ago with absolutely nothing but now I’ve got the skills, qualifications and experience I need to get a real job and support my family.
“I’ve made a new circle of friends and have a really strong network of supportive and friendly people around me. It’s a world away from the life I was living just 18 months ago.
Looking forward to the future
“I feel so proud of what I’ve achieved in such a short period of time and am really excited about what the future might hold.
"I’m really grateful for all the support and help I’ve received. People believed in me and gave me the chance I needed to turn my life around and start again.
“I would recommend the Employability Skills Programme to anyone struggling to find work and who needs a helping hand as it’ll be the best decision you ever make.”
Unemployed and looking for work?
The Employability Skills Programme is designed around you and offers high quality work placements and specific training to help you build the confidence, skills and experience you need to get a job.
Live in the South Wales Valleys?
If you live in the South Wales Valleys and need to improve your chance of finding a job the Access Programme could be right for you. You could be eligible for a vocational training grant and tailored support.
Need help to find out what support is available?
Want to gain more skills? Looking for help to find work? Employment Routes is a directory of programmes across Wales that could help you increase your skills and find a job.
Build a career in construction
Work in the Construction industry and you could be building new homes and new schools, or repairing roads and rail networks. There are a wide variety of jobs at all levels from skilled crafts like Carpenters and Plasterers to design and management roles like Civil Engineers and Architects.