Restart Scheme

Nicola's Return to Dog Grooming at The Dog House thanks to the Restart Scheme

24th May 2024 Restart Scheme

Nicola's journey started with the Restart Scheme, where she worked with Job Coaches Fran and Kelly at Coleg Sir Gar, after relocating from Surrey to West Wales. Nicola is affected by a health condition that prohibits her from driving, and with limited public transportation options in West Wales, her job opportunities were restricted.

Nicola was recommended for a cleaner’s position by Fran to Bella Chandley, Employment Engagement Coordinator at Serco. However, Bella recognised Nicola's experience and qualifications in dog grooming from her CV, and it reminded Bella of a job opening for a Dog Groomer at 'The Dog House' just beyond Carmarthen.

Nicola gave Bella permission to speak with The Dog House on her behalf, who agreed to interview Nicola. Fran assisted Nicola in her interview preparation, and a week-long trial was arranged. Nicola exceeded expectations and was offered the position after her trial!

Nicola had never imagined returning to a position in dog grooming, given the limited opportunities in Carmarthen, and as a result had been considering a variety of local cleaning roles.

The primary issue was the remote location of the farm where The Dog House is situated. Nicola couldn't accept the provided live-in accommodation due to her health condition. Fran, using her expertise, decided to apply for Access to Work transport funding with Nicola. A week later, this was approved, and thanks to Victoria's efforts in locating a taxi service in the remote areas of Carmarthenshire for daily commutes, Nicola was eventually able to begin her job.

Nicola now works at The Dog House in a full-time position, enjoying the job she was trained for and enhancing the grooming skills of those around her.

Victoria at The Dog House, said: “Our full-time groomer was booked on maternity leave for June. We were having little success as most groomers work for themselves. When I got the call from Bella, it was as if our prayers had been answered. It seemed such a shame that due to the lack of public transport in the area, this great candidate couldn’t be employed with us. It was through the perseverance of Bella and the Coleg Sir Gar team that we managed to get Nicola on board. Nicola is a real asset to the team; the dogs love her, and we have already had some fabulous feedback from clients about the high standard of Nicola’s grooming. An absolute win!”

Nicola said, “Fran and Bella fought hard to get the transport through Access to Work due to my health condition so I could take the job as they knew I really wanted it and thanks to them I got it. Victoria was so supportive too in every way, I really enjoy working for Mark and Victoria from The Dog House, caring  for the dogs and the other animals, every day is different.”

Fran said: “Nicola has great skills but due to limitations with transport and a lack of jobs in her field of interest, Nicola was keen to focus on local cleaning jobs that would give her a stable income. However, working as a team we have all come together and we have been able to help Nicola to not just find a job but to get back into a rewarding and enjoyable career, where she can thrive and continue to develop professionally.”

Bella said, “This was a fantastic collaboration between Fran and I, The Dog House and of course the lovely Nicola!”

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