Elite Clothing Solutions
Elite Clothing Solutions’ over 50s machine operators prove they have No Best Before Date as they inspire jobseekers.
Carol Bridgeman, 54, Catherine Robbins, 56, and Angela Evans, 66, have all been recruited by Elite Clothing Solutions because they have the kind of skills and experience it needed to mentor, train, support and empower its younger employees and jobseekers.
Elite Clothing Solutions is a social enterprise run by ELITE Supported Employment Agency designed to help people living with a disability or facing disadvantage to access, secure and maintain work in Wales, with all the support they need.
They take a person-centred approach to skills training and on the job support to help them progress to their goal of paid employment. Jobseekers can experience volunteering, work placements or paid employment either within their business or in the community.
“Here in Blaenau Gwent, the knowledge and expertise of our staff help support our trainees in the production of workwear, learn how to use machinery, embroidery, teamwork, workplace social skills and work ethics,” says Kathy Rivett, Chief Operating Officer.
“We wanted to tap into a valuable talent pool within this Valley that was experienced in the production of clothing, something that was inherent in the Welsh Valleys up until the late 1990s.
“We cannot stress how much we value the qualities, skills and wealth of lived experience that Carol, Catherine and Angela bring to our work.
“Their industry knowledge, and supportive, nurturing personalities have a hugely positive impact on the jobseekers that attend our enterprise.”
"You learn as you age," says Carol, Clerical Assistant at the Enterprise. "We are all mothers; we are used to dealing with problems. We all know people who are facing difficulties. And we have all had so many years’ experience in the workplace.”
Angela adds: "I think it's about patience some of the time,"
"Everyone says you have more patience with your grandchildren than you did with your own kids. That comes with knowing – learning through life – that every single person has a purpose and is capable of achieving. It's about knowing that it takes time to get to know someone and discover their potential.”
Cath says, "It’s about knowing there is a job for everyone here, and finding, nurturing and developing that individual talent."
“Angela and I have worked together on and off for years,” says Carol. “After being made redundant from our jobs, it is something special to bring our skills to this site and use them in a way that is literally transforming the lives of others."