From sleeping on the streets to working at KPMG

How a Business in the Community member transformed a life through the charity’s Ready for Work scheme.

Small wooden blocks put together to form steps

Back in August 2016, Dermot took an overdose. A series of events led to him sleeping on the streets of Blackpool and making his way to Manchester where, with the help of several charities, including Business in the Community (BITC), he was able to turn things around.

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With the support of the Booth Centre in Manchester, Dermot was able to find a bed in a hostel. He had experience as a bookkeeper but returning to work was daunting and he was referred to BITC’s Ready for Work programme for support. After two days of pre-placement training involving confidence building, interview techniques, and employability skills, Dermot began a two-week placement at KPMG.

“During those two weeks something just happened,” Dermot says. “I was only doing the work experience to find out whether I was ready to go back to work – whether that was full or part time; I wasn’t looking for a job. But it was something about the group of people I was working with – being around them made me relax and open up and, by the end of the two weeks, I didn’t want to leave!”

The team at KPMG clearly saw the potential in Dermot during the time he was working there.

“The support that I have had from BITC, the other charities I have mentioned, and the staff at KPMG has really opened
me up and made me realise you are never alone.”

Dermot, Bookkeeper, KPMG

“On the Thursday before my placement ended, my manager asked me how everything went and I told her that if they had a job I would bite her hand off for it. By the time I came in for my final day’s work experience she had already sent my application for the position to HR.”

Dermot got the job as a team secretary in the Leeds office of KPMG, working with 23 senior managers there. A year on from starting work at KPMG, Dermot has secured a permanent position as a bookkeeper. He also uses his volunteering days at KPMG to give back to the Booth Centre.

“I believe a combination of all the support that I have had from BITC, the other charities I have mentioned, and the staff at KPMG has really opened me up and made me realise you are never alone. There is always someone there to help, all you have to do is ask. You’re never too old to ask for help.”

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