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Gwilym Roberts recently completed work experience at GEM Exemplar Employer Coventry Building Society. He shares his experience and what he has achieved on his GEM journey. 

Hi, I’m Gwil. I am about to take you with me on my journey and an insight into my work placement experience with the Coventry Building Society and let me tell you it has been a very positive, interesting and enjoyable one.

I’ve been out of work for a while now and found out about the work placement via the GEM Project. As a GEM participant - GEM (Going the Extra Mile), is an organisation designed to help people who have been out of work for a while and/or have obstacles that prevents them from gaining employment with help and support towards growth and development. It was through the GEM programme that I had heard about the opportunity for a work placement with the Coventry and decided to grab at this opportunity by applying for it. It was a big step for me personally and it was one I am glad I took. I was offered an interview and gratefully accepted.  Following the interview I later met with Martin Lewis (Lewy), which I did on a very wet day turning up like a drowned rat but enthusiastic and eager to be here, and wanting this experience which for me personally; is a great opportunity to further my goals of getting back into full-time employment.

The meeting with Lewy went well and I was soon heading to Coventry a few weeks later for a two-day corporate induction at Oakfield House. The induction went well and was interesting to learn about CBS. Meeting new people was exciting and also nervy as this was all new to me.

A week later I began at Charlton Court where I met my mentor Will, along with other members of staff.  Will showed me the ropes by explaining and demonstrating his role and tasks with his ongoing tutoring which ranged from running and testing the generator, checking first-aid equipment, testing lights, fire alarms, water temperatures to arranging rooms readying them for meetings to maintenance and the cleaning/washing of the pool cars, and more. I also completed the LMS’ (Learning Management System). Being made to feel welcome and taken under Will’s wing was a huge help with progressing through this experience.

I met again with Lewy for a progress chat catch-up which went well. Not long after that, I travelled with Will to Heathcote to pick up supplies from the printing office and visited the training facilities in Coventry, meeting more people and learning about their roles, which I found interesting.

There was a BBQ and fundraising day and an Exemplar Employer award presentation from the GEM Project awarded to the Coventry Building Society. It was nice to meet and mingle with more people and enjoy the fun games and the food!

From this work placement I have gained valuable experience while learning and participating in the running of the Charlton Court facilities and about the corporation, too. Being in a working environment, meeting and working with new people and traveling to new areas to further my experience has all helped with improving my confidence, and it feels great to have a purpose and structure to my day(s) which I will continue on with by now feeling more motivated, encouraged and more hopeful than I was before to finding future long-term full-time employment.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience, feeling useful, acknowledged and part of a team, and feeling I’ve taken a massive step and made a huge achievement that can only help vastly towards my future goals. I can honestly say I have loved every minute of this opportunity and I have taken a lot of positives from this experience that I will take forwards with me.

I am thankful and appreciative to the Coventry Building Society to have been given this opportunity and to all involved to make this happen. Big love and respect to all.

GEM participant shares his experience of his time on the GEM Project

by Nikki Davies