After witnessing a fatality at work in 2002, Leo found he was unable to cope and was dismissed from his role. He explained, "After I lost my job and had depression, I had no motivation to look for work. I didn’t have any hope and felt very negative. All I could do was sit in front of the TV all day. Once I got through the depression, and did start to look for work, I struggled because I lacked qualifications. I was not used to the interview process for getting a job as I got my previous job through my Dad."
Moat and Ready for Work helping unemployed tenants
Through his housing association Moat, Leo found out about Ready for Work. In the programme, participants like Leo take part in a short training course, before beginning a two-week work placement. Leo’s placement was with Marks & Spencer, as part of their Marks & Start scheme.
Despite being new to retail, Leo picked up his role quickly: "I didn’t know anything about customer service, but I’ve learnt so much about how to talk to people, and how important talking to customers is. You can inspire someone just by what you say to them."
Leo’s was commited to his role, which was quickly evident to the other staff at M&S, and in the second week of his placement he was offered a permanent role.
"The day I was offered a job at Marks & Spencer I was so happy”. Leo continued, “It has helped remarkably. It means now I can help in the house, and we don’t just have to rely on my fiancé’s wages. I feel like my daughters have much more respect for me now – and it helps that I can give them pocket money and buy them birthday presents. On top of that, my fiancé and I can now get married!"
Ready for Work a 'life saver'
Leo is incredibly thankful for Ready for Work, as it has enabled him to get a job – which he says is one of the best things to have ever happened to him:
"Having a job is absolutely brilliant, I’ve got so much confidence, and I’m so much more motivated. I love being able to talk to people in my job, rather than just sit in front of the TV all day. I love knowing that how I treat a customer can make a big difference to their day.
"Ready for Work is a life saver…and, the fact that your landlord can help you find work is amazing!"