A STALYBRIDGE man is revelling in his ‘new purpose’ after finding a job through a scheme.
Jack Hamilton ‘would just go to the gym for something to do’ before enrolling on the Routes to Work project.
Now the 29-year-old, who lives with autism, has found employment as a Document Controller at BLM law firm and says the scheme has changed his life.
Routes to Work is a Tameside Council-funded provision aimed at anyone who, because of a disability, has struggled to access mainstream services and find employment.
Through training sessions, CV workshops, volunteering opportunities and one-to-one mentoring, the programme seeks to prepare individuals for all aspects of employment from building a CV to workplace etiquette.
Prior to taking part in the programme, Jack had secured several volunteering roles that had allowed him to develop his skills but had struggled to break through to paid employment.
And he has a simple message for anyone thinking of joining, saying: “Do it and go for it!
“I have been in others’ shoes and I know how it feels thinking you can’t get a job but I have succeeded in doing it and you can too.
“I have more confidence since working at BLM. It has given me a purpose to get up in the morning.
“Before having a job, I was bored at home and would just go to the gym for something to do. Now I am more independent and I love it.”
“It was very difficult trying to find work before I was with Routes to Work.
“The Employment Officers have helped me a lot. They found me several work experience roles and built my skills and abilities to help me pursue a paid job.”
Routes to Work establish good working relationships with employers looking to recruit from an untapped talent pool of work-ready people.
Supporting participants by liaising with employers to make reasonable adjustments, they also provide one-to-one mentoring both prior to and during employment as well as finding volunteering and work experience opportunities that will build the participants’ skillset and make them stand out to employers.
Employment Officers assess and identify barriers that once removed or reduced will enable the participant to access paid employment opportunities.
They are able to support these adjustments by submitting applications to Access to Work, a government initiative that funds workplace adaptations for people with disabilities to access employment.
Cllr Ged Cooney, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Housing, Planning and Employment, said: “We are so pleased with Jack’s achievements.
“This is a fantastic example of how Routes to Work supports our residents to upskill and break down barriers into employment so that they can move forward with confidence and have the opportunities to fulfil their potential.”
When asked about their experience in hiring through the Routes to Work Scheme, Christine Cheetham, Head of Corporate Services at BLM, said: “As employers, we need to recognise the benefits that diverse talent can bring to our teams.
“It is key to understand the level of support required to ensure that the individual receives the right level of training and support they need.
“I would have no hesitation hiring through the scheme again. It has been a positive and rewarding experience.”
Abigail Downing, Jack’s Employment Support Worker who worked with him every step of the way, said: “Jack has achieved so much and he has been a pleasure to support.
“He is always focused and I am so proud to see how much he has accomplished. Jack has grown in confidence and I am so pleased of his progress.”