A POPULAR employability hub can continue its role of helping local people to find work.
The Opportunity Hub, which is based in Aberafan Shopping Centre, was first started in January 2023 with the aim of providing a venue in the community that could help and support unemployed or economically inactive people towards finding employment.
Now members of Neath Port Talbot Council have agreed to extend its lease.
The hub is there to offer help to all residents aged over 16, as well as providing them with additional training days, jobs fairs, citizens advice, and an additional warm hub facility during winter months.
Council officers reported that it had already engaged with almost 300 residents since it had first opened at the beginning of the year, working with a range of employers such as McDonalds, DVLA, security companies, care sector employers, and Virgin Atlantic.
While the lease for the project was due to expire in August of 2023, members decided to keep the project going for an additional year with Welsh Government funding.
The report read: “Since opening in January 2023, 282 residents from Port Talbot who were looking for help and support to secure employment have come into the centre and been referred to NPT Employability programmes.
“This highlights the need for a ‘single front door’ in the heart of the community to access to employability services. With the unit being in close proximity to the local Job Centre, it has also helped build good relationships, with the work coaches who often sign post their customers to the hub.”
It added: “Welsh Government Officers recently visited the Opportunity Hub and commented on what an excellent facility it is for the community and in a great location for engaging people that are passing by the shop.”
Members in attendance at the Education, Skills and Well-being Cabinet meeting this month said they approved the lease extension at the site in order to provide local employability and well-being support for the community of Port Talbot
The running costs for the next year of the hub will now be funded from the Welsh Government Communities for Work Plus budget, at a value of around £29,517.