People & Work team
Director: Dr Sarah Lloyd-Jones
Sarah has over twenty-five years experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods and data analysis and has been the principal researcher and consultant on many of the Unit’s studies. In addition to its commissioned work, Sarah has responsibility for the People Work Unit’s action-research programmes including shaping its current work around family engagement with, and support for, learning as a tool for tackling child poverty. Sarah is a founding director of Lles Cymru – Wellbeing Wales and its Chair and chairs its research and evaluation group. She has recently published a chapter on children, young people and wellbeing in ‘From Public Health to Wellbeing’ commissioned by Palgrave Publishing (Macmillan 2011) and recently contributed a chapter on youthwork and locality in the book ‘Journeying Together’ (eds. A Rogers and M Smith 2010. Russell House).
Phone: 029 2048 8536
Head of Research: Dr Duncan Holtom
Duncan is a highly experienced social researcher, with post-graduate training in quantitative and qualitative research methods. Duncan has taught research methods at under-graduate and post-graduate levels at the University of Wales Swansea and draws upon fifteen years’ experience undertaking qualitative and quantitative research in Wales and also Australia, Tanzania, and Jordan.
Since joining People and Work in 2004, Duncan has specialised in research in the fields of education, youth transitions and community regeneration, and has led high profile research and evaluation studies for the Welsh Government, Local Authorities, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Save the Children. This includes, for example:
- The evaluation of RAISE, a £45m+ programme to tackle the link between poverty and poor educational attainment ;
- The five year programme of action research to inform reform of statutory framework for special educational needs;
- The first national survey of bullying in schools in Wales;
- The Evaluation of the School Effectiveness Framework for Wales;
- Research into Poverty and Ethnicity in Wales, for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation; and
- The ten-year evaluation of Invest Local.
Before joining People and Work Duncan Worked as an Associate for the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Wales Swansea and the Community Service and Research Centre at the University of Queensland.
Phone: 029 2048 8536
Lead Researcher: Rhodri Bowen
Rhodri previously worked as a researcher at Cardiff University of Wales, where he gained experience in quantitative research techniques. His first language is Welsh, and he recently completed an advanced Welsh language course at Cardiff University. He completed his MSc in Marketing at University of Glamorgan. During his eight years at the Unit Rhodri has led many evaluations for example in school based interventions in areas such STEM, ESF projects which aim to improve employment and skills amongst disadvantaged young people, and community development projects. He has specialised skills in survey design and analysis, and analysing complex datasets. Rhodri believes in adopting simple and straightforward approaches in order to achieve effective monitoring and evaluation of projects. Rhodri also has experience in delivering training programmes in subject areas such as understanding how to use the Welsh Index of Multiple deprivation.
Phone: 029 2048 8536
Researcher: Heather Pells
Heather completed her MSc in Social Research at Edinburgh University whilst working as a researcher in Social Work at the City of Edinburgh Council. Heather then went onto work in Strategic Planning and Commissioning within Adult Social Care. Heather has used her research skills to conduct literature reviews; conduct primary and secondary research to inform strategic planning and service development; analyse consultation responses; assist in service reviews and service development, including identifying areas for service improvement and carrying forward these improvements; provide research advice and assistance to staff and to manage research access to the Social Work Department (as it was then). Heather worked within multi-agency teams across statutory, private and third sector agencies, as well as working with people who use services.
Before entering employment, Heather volunteered at Grassmarket Advice Centre for the Homeless (Edinburgh), Citizen’s Advice Bureau (Edinburgh) and Vancouver Co-operative Radio as a volunteer researcher and presenter on the Women’s programme (Canada).
Heather’s work history demonstrates not only an interest in social issues, social justice and addressing structural inequality and disadvantage, but also a commitment to make change for the better possible. Heather has a wide interest in current affairs and human behaviour and in keeping informed about what is happening in society and politics. Heather also has a personal interest in Early Years, in particular the importance of play to children (of all ages!), and in issues that affect women and girls.
Phone: 029 2048 8536
Action Research Project Manager: James Hall
James joined People & Work in 2008 to lead the newly established place-based project in Glyncoch (a village near Pontypridd) – a whole village approach to education, employment and wellbeing in partnership with Glyncoch Community Regeneration and other agencies.
Following study in Oxford and Cardiff, James’ first job was as a Baptist Minister, working for various churches in city, rural and valley communities in Wales alongside visiting a variety of workplaces on behalf of the churches. He then worked as an Industrial Chaplain (on behalf of all the main churches), exploring the impact of changing economic and industrial trends upon local communities and individuals (and this formed the basis of his Masters research for Cardiff University).
James started freelance broadcasting for BBC Wales in 1993, becoming a full-time member of staff in TV Presentation in 1998. Whilst at BBC Wales, James became the deputy branch secretary of BECTU, the broadcast technicians’ union.
Since 2015, James has taken a lead in developing a third sector network alongside others in Rhondda (Stronger Rhondda Gryfach) and manages a variety of action research projects which focus on education, employment, training, health and wellbeing with young people (using an asset-based approach to community development). James has also led several training seminars for the third and public sectors (including work on the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation). He speaks Welsh (to an intermediate level) and is now a member of a multi-disciplinary evaluation team in People & Work exploring the impact of a 10-year community project in several locations in Wales.
James has recently received training in professional supervision and facilitating action learning sets. He has considerable experience of meeting facilitation, public speaking, working with the media and setting up IT.
Phone: 07800 957512
Play It Again Sport Project Worker: James Watts-Rees
James joined People & Work in September 2018 for a year’s placement as part of the Play It Again Sport team. His role has been made possible by the Rank Foundation’s RAP scheme (Rank Aspire Programme) which supports young leaders to develop their skills and career options whilst contributing to the work of a local community charity. James is a native of Ton Pentre, Rhondda and, after leaving Treorchy Comprehensive School, he gained a Level 3 WRU Apprenticeship in coaching. He has extensive experience in mentoring and coaching a wide range of people in rugby and life skills. His enthusiasm for and commitment to Rhondda is second to none!
Phone: 07392 072115
Play It Again Sport Enterprise Manager: Natasha Burnell
Natasha has over ten years’ experience working in the retail sector at management level and joined People and Work through National Lottery funding to develop the Play It Again Sport social enterprise.
Natasha had worked with third sector organisations in her previous employment which had facilitated a change of focus, and had prompted the co-creation of Rhondda Creative Community Group – a group striving to provide accessible arts activities for those in the Rhondda.
She has lived in the local area for fourteen years after moving to Wales to study at Swansea University.
Natasha has worked in various roles in several different retailers and has experience of managing people and stock, creating and delivering training programs alongside merchandising and driving commerciality.
Phone: 07375 894007
Digital Champion: Ethan Jones
Ethan’s role has been made possible by the Rank Foundation as part of the Time to Shine Leadership Programme, which helps young leaders develop their skills. Ethan has lived in the Rhondda area all his life and has been able to support the local community with Volunteering opportunities in Pentre & Treorci Ward Food Share.
Ethan is a fluent welsh speaker who is a previous student of Y.G. G Bronllwyn and Y.G. Cwm Rhondda. After Leaving school, Ethan Joined Coleg Y Cymoedd Ystrad Mynach where he joined a level 3 course in Computer, Game and website design. After completing level 3 Ethan progressed on to a foundation degree in Information Communication Technology and graduated in 2019.
Ethan is part of the world wide gaming community and enthusiastic about game memorabilia. He is passionate about all things tech and hopes to support and excite other young people in the Rhondda and Cynon with the growing digital economy in South Wales.
Phone: 07960 565873
Green Light Project Worker: Tomas Jenkins
Tomas Jenkins from Ton Pentre in Rhondda joined us in October 2020 to spend a year with People & Work supported by Rank Foundation’s Aspire Programme (RAP) which supports young people to explore their future and, at the same time, to contribute to the work of a local charity. Tom is leading on the Green Light project which supports people in Rhondda into employment, education or volunteering.
Phone: 07956 811459
Rhondda Voices: Rhian Edwards
Rhian joined People & Work in January 2021 to run the Rhondda Voices project. Her role has been made possible by the Rank Foundation’s Time to Shine programme which supports young leaders to develop their skills and career opportunities. Rhian has a keen interest in social history and research, having achieved a Master’s in History at the University of Swansea. She has extensive experience of working in her local community and aims to apply her experiences to run a successful project where Rhondda people can voice their stories and help digitally capture the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic from a Rhondda perspective. Using her local connectivity, she will be interviewing and filming Rhondda residents, community leaders and business owners and will use the power of social media to share the stories. Rhian is working hard to learn the Welsh language and aims to be fluent within the next year to better understand and engage with local communities.
Phone: 07377 998230