CBSA staff show the young people that join our projects that there is so much more to work than just earning money. Chesney is a young SYMF participant who shows us just how work can change a life for the better.

Originally referred by to SYMF by Social Services in February 2016, Chesney was living in foster care and making the difficult transition from being a supported child to independent adulthood.

She exhibited a bravado and defiance when around her peers, and had unrealistic expectations of what working life was all about. Previous attempts at work placements had only lasted few weeks, and Chesney had no interest in keeping a job, seeing work as an inconvenience that got in the way of what she wanted to do.  

However, after working with SYMF staff from both CBSA and project partners Llamau Learning 4 Life, it soon became clear that what Chesney wanted was a chance to change her life, and she demonstrated a new mature attitude with her commitment to training and employment.

Sian John, the Owner of Le Crazy Croissant in Pontypridd, offered Chesney the chance of a work placement in May 2016. This busy and popular café in the centre of town gave Chesney a real opportunity to experience what working life is all about. Standards were high and she was expected to work hard, listen and learn.

Initially things didn’t go smoothly. Chesney was a quick learner and a good worker when she was at the café, but was proving not to be reliable. She would not turn up for shifts, or would arrive late, putting pressure on the other members of staff. However, Sian and her Manager Jenny saw potential in Chesney and encouraged and supported her to improve.

Thanks to the patience and support of her employers and colleagues, Chesney improved dramatically.  At the end of the 26 week work placement Chesney was offered a job and she is delighted with her new role!

Chesney recently moved in to her own flat, but without family support she was struggling with setting up her new home.  However, Chesney’s fantastic new colleagues supported her by helping her furnish her new flat, and have helped her settle into her own home and a new career.