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A donation of twelve refurbished laptops has kick-started a job club which will offer Bristolians the opportunity to learn new skills in a bid to get onto the work ladder.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service which serves the city, has donated the laptops to the Salvation Army in St. Pauls to help equip people with the skills needed in the workplace.

Thanks to Wales & West Utilities support, this is the first time the Salvation Army has been able to run such a job club, and it is now hoping that more and more local people will find benefit.

Sarah Williams, Wales & West Utilities Business Improvement Manager who has long been involved with the Salvation Army explains how the company came to help out:

“We knew there was a need for computer skills training at the centre but we simply didn’t have the money to purchase equipment. While at work I was speaking to our IT department and found out that we have a turnover of laptops due to them needing to be upgraded.

“Our IT team was keen to support a good cause and so set about refurbishing the laptops before they were donated – as you can imagine we were thrilled.”

As part of the refurbishment process, another Wales & West Utilities colleague, Nicki Horlock, a manager in the IT department, gained the support of her son, Conor Horlock, who was going through his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award and was required to carry out volunteer work. Conor coordinated the refurbishment and installation of the laptops at the centre.

Major Ian Mountford, the full time Minister at the Bristol Citadel Salvation Army, said:

“We are over the moon with the donation of laptops from Wales & West Utilities.

“We offer a host of support to people across the Bristol area and the laptops will make sure that we can expand our services to help people across the age spectrum with basic computer skills including programmes such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as internet use.

“We will also be able to help jobseekers  with CV writing and applying for jobs – we’re delighted that we have been able to get this off the ground.”

The Employment Plus sessions will be held every Wednesday and will provide people with necessary training and help in writing covering letters and CVs, and apply for jobs.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across Wales and the south west of England. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night. 

The company also has a multi-million pound, 30-year gas pipe investment programme which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being replaced with new long-lasting plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years, to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable gas supply now and in the future.