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New work club offers extra support to people seeking work

Published
21.12.2016

Matthew Owen, 34, really wanted a job but try as he might he just couldn't find employment. That was until a new work club opened in Cam, and opened the door to employment.

Matthew, who has learning disabilities, has had various voluntary and other work experience over the years, but nothing ever lasted. He gave out endless CV's to local employers, went to countless interviews and did lots of volunteering. Matthew said: "Finding the right job was a lot harder than I thought, but I kept trying."

Then in May 2016 he started attending a work club run in partnership between Brandon Trust and Gloucestershire County Council. This gave him the extra support he needed

Matthew said: "I would go to the work club every week. We would practise our interview technique, money handling skills, how to look smart and what to wear to an interview, and how to be more confident. I got help to apply for lots and lots of jobs, filled in a lot of application forms and went to several interviews."

This all paid off and Matthew got a job as a kitchen assistant at Henlow Court, a not for profit care home, in September 2016.

This is just one success for the new work club since it launched in April 2016; two people are in paid employment, three have found voluntary work and one person is on a social enterprise work experience scheme.

Matthew's manager, Sian Sparrow, said: "Matt's enthusiasm to do the best he can was evident immediately. He shadowed more experienced staff until he learnt the ropes."

Matthew loves his new role: "Sian makes me feel welcome, valued, confident and included in the staff team; something that has never happened to me before. I look forward to going to work as it makes me very happy to help others and to be part of a team...the best team ever!"

Though he's only been there a few months, he has already been awarded employee of the month, in appreciation of how quickly he has settled in and his cheerful, dedicated nature. Matt was presented with a certificate which he proudly displayed at his work.

Sian also commented that: "His relationship with our residents and his colleagues is fantastic. He's always polite, respectful and good fun; qualities everyone appreciates."

Sam Mullaney, employment co-ordinator at Brandon Trust who runs the work club, said: "Matthew attended our work club every week without fail.  He always remained positive, looking for ways he could improve his interview techniques and striving to become job ready.

"Despite him being turned down for so many he never gave up and the right job came along. He is an inspiration to anyone struggling to find the right employment and I couldn't be prouder of him."

Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for long term care, said: "This is another great example of the difference extra support to vulnerable people seeking work can make"

"I'd like to congratulate Matthew and thank Sian and Sam for supporting him."

Matthew also said: "I want to say a big thank you to Sian for giving me a chance to shine and to Sam for helping me through my road to employment. I love my job and I love my life."

The work club meets every Wednesday, 11am - 1pm, at GL11 community hub in Cam. If you're interested in coming along you can simply drop in, or call Sam for a chat on 07464 670563.

Visit http://www.forwardsgloucestershire.co.uk/ to find your local work club.

If you own or work for a business and you'd like to know more about how you can help support people like Matthew into work, please email tom.windsor@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

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