People and 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).
Head of Research: Dr Duncan Holtom
Since joining the Unit in 2004, Duncan has specialised in research in the fields of education, youth transitions and community regeneration, drawing upon ten years experience undertaking qualitative and quantitative research in Wales, Australia, Tanzania, and Jordan. He is currently leading the evaluation of a pilot study into the right of young people to make appeals and claims to the Special Educational Needs Tribunals for Wales. He co-wrote the education chapter of Stop, Look and Listen, the Wales ‘NGO Alternative Report’ to the UNCRC, has contributed to books on research methods and aid relationships and has peer reviewed articles published in national and international journals. He is a member of the Big Lottery’s People and Places Committee and the University of Cardiff’s, ESRC funded Locality, Biography and Youth in a Transforming Community, Advisory Group and is an active member of the UK Evaluation Society.
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.
Researcher: Emma Preece
Emma Preece is a recent Cardiff University MSc Social and Public Policy graduate, born and raised in Wales (Cardiff). At undergraduate level she studied Human Geography, focusing on issues such as equality, social research, and methods. Emma is the latest researcher within the People and Work team and is passionate and excited about all the work we undertake. Before joining People and Work Emma worked within South Wales schools as a cover supervisor, seeing first hand some of the issues facing young people today. Outside of work Emma is a very keen rugby player for Llandaff North and coach for Cardiff University Ladies Rugby. At university Emma combined her passions for sport and equality to produce research on the experiences and safety of LGBTQ+ students in sport. This is something she continues to advocate for through her coaching.
Facilities Manager: James Hall
James joined People & Work in 2008 as Action Research Project Manager following careers in BBC Wales TV, industry (as a chaplain) and working in churches in South Wales as a Baptist Minister. He now works two days a week supporting the team as Facilities Manager (which covers all sorts of things – from premises to purchasing, IT, mobiles and DBS checks).
Community Development Lead: James Watts-Rees
James joined People & Work in September 2018 for a one-year placement as part of the Play It Again Sport team. His role was made possible by the RAP Rank Foundation scheme (Rank Aspire Programme) which supports young leaders to develop their skills and career choices whilst contributing to local community charity work. James is a native of Ton Pentre, Rhondda and, after leaving Ysgol Gyfun Treorci, gained a UCD Level 3 Apprenticeship in coaching. He has extensive experience in mentoring and training a wide range of people in rugby and life skills. His enthusiasm and commitment to the Rhondda is infectious! James is now community development lead for Rhondda.
PIAS Lles Programme Manager: Natasha Burnell
Natasha left a career in retail management in 2019 to join the People and Work team to lead Play It Again Sport. This project has evolved and developed into PIAS Lles (Welsh for welfare) which has a greater focus on sustainability, the environment and well-being. Natasha has lived in Rhondda for over ten years and loves living within such a tight knit community. Natasha is currently working towards being a lowland leader and is partial to anything involving water – Stand up paddleboard and cold-water dipping being favourites!
Digital Rhondda Lead: Ethan Jones
Ethan’s role was 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.
Green Light Lead: Tomas Jenkins
Tomas Jenkins from Ton Pentre in Rhondda joined us in October 2020 to spend a year with People & Work with the support of the Rank Foundation’s Aspire Program (RAP) which supports young people to explore their future and, at the same time, to contribute to local charity work. Tom continued his employment with People & Work and leads the Green Light project which supports people in Rhondda into employment, education or volunteering.
Reading Rhondda Lead: Natasha Owens
Natasha has lived in the Rhondda for most of her life, attending Aberllechau primary, Porth County comprehensive and then briefly moved away to Worcester for university before returning to her much-loved Rhondda valley. Her love of education and childcare has always played a significant role in her life and after having her own family she decided to retrain as a nursery nurse. After this Natasha spent 7 years working for Flying Start in various settings, a role where family engagement and the importance of early literacy became her passion. Natasha then spent 2 years at a local primary school before taking the role with People & Work as our project lead on ‘Reading Rhondda’.
Natasha has a love of the outdoors and a belief that reading and literacy opportunities are all around us. She is excited to share her ideas with the families within both Rhondda Fach and Rhondda Fawr.
Reading Rhondda: Claire Davies
Claire joined us in August 2023 to take on the role as Reading Rhondda’s bilingual project worker, facilitating the introduction of ‘Darllen Rhondda’. Darllen Rhondda will enable the programme to expand to schools and settings where the Welsh language is the primary focus.
Claire has lived in the Rhondda all her life and attended a Welsh medium school in the area. She has three older daughters with whom she has had the privilege of enhancing their literacy skills over the years through her love of reading.
In her previous role as Attendance Support Officer with RCTCBC (attendance and wellbeing service) she engaged with the majority of Rhondda schools where she has established very good relationships with staff, pupils and families. This previous link has been paramount in enabling her to carry out her role with Darllen Rhondda efficiently.
Claire’s friendly, approachable manner encourages families to participate and engage in sessions and Claire knows all too well that positive relationships with families will aid her to help them thrive – not just in literacy skills but in other areas too!
Digital Assistant: Scott Jones
Scott joined us in December 2022 as a digital assitant. He has many skills and talents – from playing football professionally (back in the day!) to managing administration and running football courses in the community. He works with the digital team sorting the kit, helping with community advice sessions and running digital clubs.
Digital Assistant: Heather Hanson