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We Mind the Gap (WMTG)

Formally Moneypenny, a group based in North Wales who aim to give new opportunities in life and work to under-served women in the local community. They do this by providing a totally holistic, paid six-month traineeship that includes the women completing six work placements in a variety of organisations to give them a taster of different sectors and better understanding what opportunities are available to them. After the six months 70% of the women move from being wholly dependent on the state with few choices to make, to full-time work or education with promising futures. Over the past four years Re:vision has helped provide funding to support 18 young Flintshire women through the programme.

“I was 16 when I found myself living in a hostel in North Wales after I’d fallen out with my family. I had nowhere to go and I was angry and scared. The hostel wasn’t a hotel: you had to keep your wits about you to survive. My support worker at the hostel helped me apply for a traineeship with WMTG, I was just about to turn 18 and had to convince Diane and Rachel to take me. I was the youngest trainee to be offered a place and I behaved like one. Looking back, I must have been horrible. If I didn’t like doing something I would say so, loudly, if things went wrong for me I didn’t know how to try again. But quite quickly I realised that life could be different.

My coach was amazing. She made me cry but she made me realise that I was holding the pack of cards, that I didn’t need to be bound by the hand I’d been dealt with – I could change those cards at any time. I loved Launchpad and began to see that we were responsible ourselves for our future. Gradually I took control, I moved out of the hostel into my own flat which WMTG helped me with. I liked all my placements, but my favourite bit of the week was Essential Skills. We always started with a maths quiz and I would win easily. I had GCSE maths and Pam helped me think about getting more qualifications. I asked the team to help me apply for an apprenticeship in a bank or finance because I realised I was good at numbers.

I got nervous at the end of the traineeship about leaving but Laura and Diane said they would still be there for me. I had no other work experience and was just 18. All the other trainees on my course got something and I felt if I wasn’t careful, I could slip back into my old habits. I asked if I could come into WMTG and volunteer over Christmas. I franked 1000s of Christmas cards, I dressed up as an Elf, I helped with the Christmas party – and I loved being part of the team. Diane told the Finance Director how good at numbers I was, I don’t think he believed her, but she persuaded him to give me a trial in his team and I proved him wrong! After a couple of days, he said they could offer me a temporary role and after a couple of months I was offered a permanent contract! The team leader really did see my flair for numbers, so she and Diane got in touch with Coleg Cambria and got me on an apprenticeship accountancy course.

The course is hard work, I must study at weekends and I still get nervous on exam days, but everyone is willing me to succeed. For some people working with numbers would be their worst nightmare, but I’m loving it and can see my future here!”

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