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Newport garden village scheme helps local man transform his life

A landmark homes project creating a new garden village in Newport has helped a previously unemployed local man get his life back on track.

Morgan Hardwick, who lives in Ringland, Newport, has landed a full-time job as a result of a work placement on the Loftus Garden Village scheme where partnership housing developer Lovell is building 250 new homes for housing provider Pobl Group.

Lovell regional training advisor Darryl Williams (on left) and Morgan Hardwick.

The opportunity provided a lifeline for the 35-year-old following a turbulent time personally and professionally. Homeless for 18 months after the breakdown of his marriage, at one time Morgan was so desperate that he lived in a hut he built in some woodland.

Eventually finding more secure accommodation, he leapt at the chance to undertake a work placement arranged by Lovell and Jobcentre Plus.

Morgan spent four weeks working for Lovell subcontractor Bell Contracting on the Loftus Garden Village development in Newport, making such an excellent impression that he was offered a full-time job.

With further support from Jobcentre Plus, which funded a dumper truck operator training course, Morgan was then taken on as a full-time employee by Bell Contracting and is now working towards an NVQ qualification in Specialist Plant Operations.

He says: “I’m so grateful for this opportunity. It sounds like a cliché, but it has totally changed my life. It took a lot of effort but it gave me the opportunity to prove myself, which was all that I ever asked for.”

Lovell regional training advisor Darry Williams adds: “Morgan showed impressive drive and a real determination to find a job and get his life back on course, including saving his own money to obtain his CSCS card qualification which is needed by anyone working on a construction site. We were very pleased to support him by arranging the placement with Bell Contracting and are delighted that has led to a job. Morgan’s experience demonstrates how the Loftus Garden Village scheme is opening up  opportunities for the wider community and we wish him every success for the future.”

Julie Axhorn, employer relations manager for the Department for Work and Pensions in south-east Wales, says: “We are so pleased to be working in partnership with Lovell who offers great opportunities for our customers that can have such a positive impact on lives.”

Bell Contracting regional manager Dave Thomas says: “Morgan showed great willingness to work with the site team and it was evident that he had previous groundwork experience.  Since he began with us things have progressed well, and led to our offering him a permanent position with the company. He has since moved to another site where he continues to do a very good job.”

Neil Taylor, Pobl Group’s senior project manager, comments: “Pobl are passionate about helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people turn their lives around and are delighted to have provided the platform at Loftus Garden Village for this to happen for Morgan.  It’s really rewarding to hear how Morgan is building new skills and developing his confidence and that he has now been offered a permanent position –  well done Morgan and Lovell!”

In addition to teaming up with Jobcentre Plus to arrange voluntary work placements at Loftus Garden Village, Lovell has created 20 apprenticeships (either through the company or its subcontractors) via the project, plus a number of jobs for people who were previously unemployed.