Dawn Evans who founded Ajuda in October 2009 is a very busy lady. Her days can be taken up with training students, delivering presentations, winning awards, volunteering and many more exciting activities. Today, Thursday 11th February, I am shadowing Dawn for the day to see what she gets up to.
We start the day by attending Fire Station 21 in Aberbargoed at an award ceremony for an employability programme where our trainers made up part of the delivery team. The ‘Station 21’ programme has taught the young people involved many essential life skills to prepare them for the working world; teamwork, communication, interview skills, CV building, support for each other, confidence and resilience have been the cornerstones of the programme for the students, as well as giving them the opportunity to gain accredited qualifications in Food Safety, Fire Safety, Manual Handling and Customer Service. The accredited qualifications were taught by a team of professional tutors from Ajuda, led by Head tutor Tom Collins. The young adults who have taken part in this programme have learnt how to put out a fire as a team which has helped them to highly develop a lot of the aforementioned integral skills.
It was really fantastic to see so many young people engaging with the programme with their spirits high and their confidence boosted. It is a very worthy cause and one that Ajuda is thrilled to be a part of – having already signed up to offer more training in future programmes. The programme was supported by the Welsh Government, Communities First, Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO), Department of Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus.
Next, we have a scenic drive through the valleys on route to Swansea. Dawn is due to give a speech for IOSH at the Tower Hotel at 2.00pm so it’s a tight squeeze to say the least. Luckily we arrive with time to spare for lunch so we tuck in to the delicious buffet on offer!
Dawn delivers a brilliant 45-minute presentation about Health and Safety in the fitness industry. She highlights the importance of things that often get overlooked; or, at least, don’t get as much attention as they should be getting. The implementation of defibrillators, and ensuring that staff are trained to use one in gyms and sports centres is a hot topic amongst the guests, and something that everyone agreed is essential. The audience were also very interested in insurance in the unfortunate event of an accident at the gym. The delegates debated amongst themselves whilst Dawn inputted her expert opinion, remaining collected and poised throughout. After answering many audience questions it’s time to rush off to destination number 3.
Our final stop is the stunning Cardiff Castle. Ajuda are sponsoring the Introbiz Business Networking event for the evening. Introbiz is a fantastic independent business network that hosts weekly networking events and is run by Tracey and Paul Smolinski. After some tea, biscuits and networking, Dawn talks to the attendees about Ajuda, and the benefits to selecting the correct Health & Safety training for their company. Dawn also highlighted the achievements that Ajuda has achieved so far. After Dawn’s speech it’s time to find our table. We sit amongst other business folk – from accountants to events managers (we were very interested in zip lining!) and there was a lot of business card exchanging and chatting. It was very enjoyable and laidback – a brilliant way to meet other like-minded people in business.
It’s time to go home! What an excellent and insightful day. I’m already thoroughly enjoying my time working at Ajuda and am looking forward to what’s coming next!