Rob accelerates back to employment thanks to specialist support…
Rob Cartwright, who is 60 years-old, turned to the specialist employment initiative after finding himself in one of the worst times of his life, with his confidence low and no sign of getting back into work.
The former architectural technician was assigned a dedicated Journey Guide to help him identify some of the barriers he was facing and, importantly, come up with a simple action plan he could follow to start taking steps in the right direction.
This initially involved signposting him to Valley House, where he worked with some of the organisation’s experts to help him manage his depression, before he embarked on a number of confidence building courses.
“I was in a pretty bad place mentally and physically with the sleep apnoea, so really needed something to change,” explained Rob, who is a big motorbike enthusiast.
“A friend told me about Accelerate, but I didn’t really know what to expect. From the minute I sat down and started to discuss my situation, I immediately felt more positive about the future.”
He continued: “The first part of the plan was to get support with my depression and that’s where Valley House played such an important role. Getting my head in a much better place gave me the chance to start looking at what I needed to do to build my confidence and gain new skills to help me back into employment.”
Accelerate, which is part of the ‘Building Better Opportunities’ Programme and run by the Coventry and Warwickshire CDA, managed to secure Rob the opportunity to volunteer as a minibus driver for the Volunteer Friends in Bulkington.
This proved a huge success in helping him regain his confidence and communication skills, whilst also paying for him to take his MiDAS personal minibus driving test.
Maxine Wykes, Accelerate Journey Guide, added her support: “When Rob first came to us, he was so shy and wouldn’t get involved in group discussions. By listening to him and realising how many skills he has and his great personality, we knew we just had to put together an action plan that would help him tackle his depression and get his confidence back.
“It’s great seeing how far he has come and you can clearly tell the counselling, volunteering and the improvement courses have all played a role. We have even supported him in getting part-time employment with Coventry City Council, making sure the role is ‘permitted hours’ so he can keep his ESA benefit and make the transition into full-time work a gradual process.
“The real Rob is back and we’re going to continue to keep in touch, supporting him with the next steps on his journey.”
Rob is now working as a minibus driver five days per week, picking up and taking children back from school.
He’s really enjoying the job and has also maintained his role as a volunteer at the Volunteer Friends, where he now looks after ‘odd jobs’ as well as being one of their main drivers.
“The difference in two years is nothing short of amazing. Whilst I still have bad days, overall I’m really enjoying life again and have got my passion back for motorbikes and wanting to get back into work. Accelerate has been great and I highly recommend it!”
Funded by the Community Fund and the European Social Fund, Accelerate brings together partners to provide each participant with a Journey Guide to access confidence building, work experience and skills enhancement, including training on IT, Literacy, Numeracy and Enterprise, as well as providing ESOL and other tailored support for individuals.
Over 900 people in Coventry and Warwickshire have so far been supported towards getting back into employment thanks to the pioneering £3m initiative, surpassing many of its targets for helping disadvantaged individuals overcome barriers preventing them from getting a job or securing self-employment.
Accelerate has recently been granted an extension until September 2022 which ensures the project can continue to support unemployed people in Coventry and Warwickshire for another three years.
For further information, please visit www.accelerate.org.uk or follow @AccelerateCW on twitter or facebook.
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