Work has been completed and the keys to a new Community Employability Centre have been handed over to the Leader of Council, Cllr. Ali Thomas and Gary Roberts, Chair of NSA Afan.
Thanks to funding from the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places Regeneration Programme, the old Aberavon fire station building has been given a new lease of life as a community based facility, helping local people into jobs.
Its location within the Aberavon Communities First cluster area and close proximity to the town centre and central transport links makes the Centre an ideal venue to provide accessible services to local people including those furthest from the job market.
The Centre will now be managed by NSA Afan, a community-based organisation and social enterprise, providing a range of employability training schemes and community facilities, including pre-employment courses, mentoring and vocational workshops.
There will be office space for rent, hot desking facilities and spaces for use by community groups.
The Employability Centre is just one of eleven projects in Port Talbot’s Regeneration programme, supported with over £10 million of Welsh Government funding. This significant programme of regeneration will improve community facilities, create new homes and businesses and boost the local economy.
One of the key outcomes for the programme is to ensure local people and businesses benefit from these regeneration projects through additional training and employment opportunities.
Port Talbot based CJ Construction started work on the Centre in September last year. The company employed two apprentices, both of whom are now continuing their training with the company on other projects in the area.
Chris Jones, Managing Director at CJ Construction Ltd. said: “Over three quarters of our workforce live locally and contracts such as this one are helping us to provide more valuable onsite experience for our apprentices as they progress to becoming skilled tradespersons.”
CJ Construction are also a key contractor on Port Talbot’s Housing Renewal programme.
Councillor Ali Thomas OBE, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said: “I am pleased to see the old fire station building brought back into good use for the benefit of the local community. We want everyone to have the opportunity to be as ‘job-ready’ as possible, and the facilities and services available in this new centre will certainly help them achieve that.
Gary Roberts, Chair of NSA Afan added: “This new Employability Centre will enable us to provide support services to local people in their own community.
“It is a wonderful and welcoming new facility and we are committed to deliver a full range of training and support programmes here, helping local people into jobs.
“We would like to thank Welsh Government and Neath Port Talbot Council for their support in bringing this project to fruition.”