Skills for Life – giving women a hand on their journey to employment

Skills for life is an exciting new project which is enabling women in Cardiff to gain the skills and confidence they need to progress into decent work.

With a particular focus on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women, Skills for Life sees Oxfam Cymru join forces with South Riverside Community Development Centre to deliver a yearlong tailored and supportive programme of workshops, training, professional coaching and voluntary work placements.

The Skills for Life project is part of the Communities for Work Innovation fund, funded by the Welsh Government and European Social Fund. It is also an integral part of Oxfam’s work in Wales and across the UK to address the causes of poverty. BME communities, and particularly women, are some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged groups and suffer disproportionate levels of poverty and social exclusion. Women are still paid less for the work they do – the gender pay gap means women earn 18% less than men for doing the same job – and of women working part-time in
Wales, 40% are paid less than the Living Wage. Women often lack a voice in decision-making processes and are under-represented in leadership roles too – which is why Oxfam and our partners are working to make a change.

Oxfam’s approach always takes as its starting point what a person can do, rather than what they cannot, and then building upon that to empower, inspire and support them to take control of their own economic situation. Through one to one support from the project’s Livelihoods Worker, the participants will also be able to participate in:

  • Work placements with employers to provide a positive work (re-)entry experiences
  • Professional coaching
  • Accredited & non-accredited training
  • 2 day employability training focusing on CVs, interviews, making a good impression and setting goals.
  • Funds allocated to support them into employment – for example childcare & travel costs

As part of the project, participants will also attend monthly personal development workshops on topics such as leadership, assertiveness and employability skills. The first group workshop takes place this month in central Cardiff and will focus on the women getting to know each other, building skills and confidence within a friendly and supportive environment.

Skills for Life is a sister project of Oxfam’s wider Future Skills programme  which is helping to tackle poverty across the UK utilising our network of charity shops. The project has been running successfully in Manchester over the last year with Cardiff, Glasgow and London now following suit. It also builds on Oxfam Cymru’s previous projects Sanctuary in Wales and Access to Enterprise as well as our three year Building Livelihoods project. Future Skills projects that are up and running are already showing positive results.

A previous Future Skills participant said: “The programme enabled me to become more aware and gain new skills; with the training I have been able to gain teamwork and leadership skills, and above all, confidence skills.”

Contact Miriam Merkova (Project Manager) to find out more: 0300 200 1269 /

The Skills for Life project supports the Communities for Work Programme and is funded by Welsh Government and the European Social Fund.