"Working has changed my life" - Hardeep's Story

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Hardeep is 44 years old and grew up in a large religious family setting, where life could be hard.

“My father wanted everything his way. Orders had to be followed and if you did not do this you would get a beating and go to bed at night without eating,” explains Hardeep.

Childhood was a lonely place for Hardeep. “I didn’t have many friends as my father would not allow any other kids to come to our house, this brought anxiety and depression into my life as a kid and some days I wanted to run away,” says Hardeep.

Hardeep was put into care and had positive thoughts about the prospect of a new family. “I thought things would change and that I might get a family who will love me, but this was far from the reality. I was knocked down, but I kept believing in myself. Life in care taught me a lot of things, I know how to survive on my own and take care of myself!”

In the late 90’s, Hardeep was declared unfit for work due to his daily battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was told he would never work again. “This changed my life, I felt as though the world was stopping around me and I was alone again. I was living in a hostel and didn’t know anyone. I had nobody I could chat to and wondered every day whether I would have a roof over my head the next day,” explains Hardeep.

“The level of medication I was taking for my PTSD would some days knock me out for hours and hours. Being told I would never work again was very hard to take. Whilst growing up I always wanted to work, have my own home and a family of my own one day, so I wanted to overcome this barrier!”

Moving areas, Hardeep struggled to get his life back on track, as despite trying to settle and start afresh he experienced verbal abuse and robbery, and decided to move back to his hometown. “It was a hard decision coming back to an area that I don’t have good memories about,” explains Hardeep. But still determined to push forward with his life, Hardeep spoke to his work coach about a career in security work.

“I’ve always had ambitions to work in security, so when I found out that my local community centre would be able to support me with my training, I was nervous, as I am not used to being around people or being in a classroom environment. I wondered how I was going to mix with others,” says Hardeep.

Hardeep found his experience on the course uncomfortable, but knew he had to complete the course and stuck at it, despite how hard the experience was for him personally. “The environment wasn’t for me, but I completed the course and found another course in CCTV training that would be another six weeks in duration. I was already having doubts about putting myself through it again!”

“I was hesitant on the day and very nervous, but I was made to feel at ease very quickly as I felt that the people there believed in their learners, which was something I had not come across before. I was told about the Hopeful Families programme and the support I can receive, and I signed up. I achieved my CCTV qualification alongside my First Aid. I felt so happy during my course, I got on well with my classmates and even made new friends. I was able to develop my CV with the support of Hopeful Families and received support with job-searching, registering with SIA and setting up my Universal Credits,” explains Hardeep.

Hardeep completed his SIA badges and registered with local security agencies in a bid to get paid work and embark on his next chapter. “I came across a position as a security officer working weekends on doors and called the employer. I was invited for an interview over the phone, I was excited and nervous at the same time!”

Hardeep attended the interview and got the job!

“Getting the job has completely changed my life. It is only part-time on weekends, but it has given me a new lease of life because I have not worked for more than twenty years.

"I have proven to those who didn’t believe in me that I can do it and most importantly, I’ve regained my confidence. I feel I can contribute something back to the community and hopefully help others who have faced barriers like me or are going through it now. I hope I can be a guide to them and provide them with support. There is always support out there if you can work with the right people!”

“Within one year of enrolling on the Hopeful Families programme, I have been able to overcome the barriers that have prevented me from moving forward with my life in twenty years!”