An 18-year-old cook from Pembroke Dock is encouraging more young people to find their passion through Jobs Growth Wales+ after it helped give her the skills, qualifications and confidence to pursue her dream job.
Annmarie Coates, 18, signed up for the Welsh Government programme after her family encouraged her to seek support from her local training provider to improve her communication skills and explore potential employment opportunities. Annmarie is currently awaiting a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
The Jobs Growth Wales+ programme helped Annmarie reignite her love for cooking, gain new qualifications, and develop her confidence in talking to others.
The team also set up an interview at a local care home, Pembroke Haven Residential Home, where she successfully secured a role.
When explaining the positive impact the programme had on her development, Annmarie said: “Thanks to the support of the Jobs Growth Wales+ team and the staff at Pembroke Haven I’ve completely come out of my shell in the last year.
“I knew I loved cooking, but I’d previously struggled working in a pub environment, so felt stuck at a career crossroads. Thankfully the team at PRP Training helped me find a job that was right for me and my needs.”
Since being on the programme, Annmarie has not only become a better chef but has developed essential life skills after being nurtured through a series of volunteering placements in her local area.
“The team helped coach me through mock interview questions, as well as gain new qualifications which helped boost my CV,” she continued.
“I also noticed my confidence and communication skills grow when I undertook some volunteering work with the British Red Cross in Tenby and with Dezza’s Cabin – a mental health charity local to me. It was really rewarding to help support those in my local area.”
“I’m so grateful for the support of the programme – I started as a Kitchen Assistant in a local care home in February last year and I have loved it ever since. Everyone I work with is so friendly and I’ve loved building relationships with the residents I cook for in the care home.
“It’s been perfect for me as I get to work with the same, lovely people every day and do a job that makes me happy.”
Katrina Poole, Deputy Manager at Pembroke Haven Residential Home, added: “Annmarie has become a completely different person since starting at the care home. She was so nervous in her first few weeks, but her enthusiasm has shone through and she’s now confident chatting to all the residents and preparing food in the kitchen while gaining hands-on experience.
“I’d encourage any young people who are unsure about their future to consider Jobs Growth Wales+. Annmarie is our third hire from the programme, and they have all gone on to be very successful in their chosen careers.”
Annmarie has been so successful since joining Pembroke Haven Residential Home that she has already received a promotion.
Annmarie said: “I have developed so much in a short space of time, and I’ve already been promoted to the afternoon shift where I will be authorised to work in the kitchen on my own.
“Earning a wage has given me so much freedom, including being able to fully fund my driving lessons. I’ve recently passed my test and bought my own car which has been life-changing!
“My dream is to become a manager of a kitchen one day, or even own my own restaurant, pub, or burger van – the opportunities are endless, you’ve just got to have the confidence to go for it.”