Catalyst for Positive Change: Itec in Merthyr Tydfil

In the summer of 2023, a beacon of hope emerged in Merthyr Tydfil as Itec Skills and Employment unveiled its transformative JGW+ centre dedicated to individuals aged 16-19. This initiative aimed to provide a catalyst for positive change, especially in a community facing economic challenges exacerbated by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the forefront of this noble endeavour is James Jones, a dedicated Youth Tutor with a passion for empowering local youth. Having previously worked at our Newport centre, James brings a profound understanding of the importance of offering alternative pathways to young individuals beyond compulsory education. Now stationed at the Willows centre in Troedyrhiw, he is committed to Itec’s vision of equipping young people with the skills essential for employment.

“I’ve put a lot of myself into the centre, and I really want these centres to work because there are young people out there who need support, guidance, and mentoring in terms of focusing on their progression towards the future.” – James Jones

Merthyr Tydfil, historically grappling with below-average employment rates, now has a dedicated space for positive change. James Jones, fuelled by a determination to dispel negativity surrounding the town, actively promotes the Jobs Growth Wales+ program as a vehicle for empowerment.

The centre hosts a range of activities, from a Summer provision to breakfast clubs and engaging guest speakers. It has become a haven for young people to make new friends, receive essential support, and access resources for learning and growth.

Penny Chapman, the director of Regener8 Cymru, has collaborated extensively with Itec’s Merthyr centre, offering intervention education and prompting learners to engage in discussions on crucial topics.

These sessions cover:

· Friendships

· Coping with anxiety,

· Understanding healthy relationships

· Addressing issues related to domestic abuse.

Through such initiatives, young individuals in the local area have found a platform to express themselves, explore new boundaries, and gain valuable insights.

The impact is tangible. Learners like Keagan, who initially struggled with anxiety and low confidence, have shown remarkable progress. After six months of dedicated effort, Keagan has significantly improved his communication skills, engages with others confidently, and is poised to embark on his employment journey in the coming year.

As we approach the new year, James and the entire Jobs Growth Wales+ team at Itec in Merthyr Tydfil are ready to amplify their positive influence. James articulates his vision succinctly, “I want the reputation that Itec is empowering people’s lives and changing people’s futures, because that’s what we do.”

In the heart of Merthyr Tydfil, Itec’s commitment to positive change shines bright, illuminating the path for young individuals to forge a brighter future.