Ken joined the Work and Health Programme with a number of health conditions. He now has a job with a sub-contractor of BAE Systems.
Ken’s Change Coach gave him a range of support, initially by supporting him on a CSCS course to regain his labouring qualification, providing Personal Protective Equipment, helping with transport to and from work, foodbank vouchers, mobile phone credit and renewing his driving licence to enable him to be able to drive again.
His Change Coach was also on hand to help with any concerns or worries that he may have had about housing, benefits, rent etc. Ken went to 'Go Train' to complete his CSCS training and passed the test with flying colours and gained his CSCS card.
His Change Coach also contacted various construction agencies to find out what work was potentially available to Ken and organised O’Neill & Brennan, a construction recruitment business, to come into Seetec Pluss to meet him and this is where his first role began. Seetec Pluss works closely with this company and they are very supportive.
Ken’s Change Coach has been on hand to speak with him about any concerns that he had, building up his confidence to go back into the workplace. She’s also been there to support him if he feels stressed and in the awareness that earning his own money could create a temptation to use drugs again.
Ken and his Change Coach also contacted various employment agencies. They looked at what work he wanted to do, his hourly rate expectations and matched potential jobs with his previous work experience, which is labouring, using a telehandler, groundwork and machine operating.
When he started work, Ken had concerns that his benefits would be cut, that he would be worse off and end up homeless. On investigation into how his benefits would change, his Change Coach eased his mind by explaining that on Universal Credit, for every £1 he would earn, his benefits would only reduce by 0.63p and this would be a gradual process whilst he got back to earning a full-time wage.
Seetec Pluss, through the Work and Health Programme, helped him to pay his rent with his first salary, covered his travel to and from work for the first week and covered a taxi for him for the first day.
Ken said, “My health conditions are depression, anxiety, diabetes type 2 and recovering from drug dependency. These conditions affect my day-to-day life, I didn’t want to think about it too much and I used my drug dependency to escape it, so I didn’t then have it on my mind.
"I was unemployed and waiting to obtain a CSCS card, I was also going through a legal battle. Whilst I was out of work it gave me time to assess my life goals and where and how I was going to achieve them.
“My main barrier was not having an up-to-date CSCS card and Health & Safety PPE. This made me feel restricted and felt like a barrier that could not be overcome. Another big barrier for me was poverty, being on Universal Credit was some of the worst poverty I have experienced.”
“Seetec Pluss and the Work and Health Programme have helped me by funding the essentials I needed to get back into work, renewing my driving licence, seeking a CSCS refresher course, providing transport to and from my first week of work, £20 phone credit, safety boots, high-vis clothing and recruitment agency visits.
“I am more confident in standing up for myself these days and I have achieved a four-month working contract with a sub-contractor of BAE Systems. I had been offered several different jobs in one day. After being offered a job, I felt elated and euphoric."
“Working has changed my life but has also put an incredible dilemma in my life as I’m fighting addiction. The only way I can cool off is by making an appointment with Laura, my Change Coach at Pluss.
Laura has become my drug rehab mentor. Having money has also changed my life by enabling me to take my family out for dinner, giving my daughters holiday spending money, saving for Christmas and paying my rent."
The Work and Health Programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund.