When Craig signed up to the Workchoice programme in August 2015 at MTIB, he had not worked for 23 years. The only experience he had was helping out in his parents pub – which were not regular shifts and unpaid – it was only if the bar was unusually busy. He didn’t even have his own bank account.

Craig was interested in working in admin, as this is what he had been told to look for. However, he had no administration-focused qualifications, and his only experience of admin work was in 1990 – 1992. We discussed this and Craig understood this wasn’t really an option unless he went to the local college to do some training and obtain up-to-date qualifications. He wasn’t keen to do this, so we focused our attention on looking for retail vacancies.

Craig had worked in retail previously, but not since 1989. The only customer service experience he had was the rare occasions he helped out at his parents’ pub. We focussed on this and it was clear that Craig was passionate about working with people, very friendly, easy to talk to and willing to give 100% commitment to anything he was offered. He was clearly desperate to work, but had not yet been given the chance to demonstrate what he was capable of.

We also had a number of barriers to overcome, including:

  • Could not work on machinery
  • Could not work in food prep environments
  • Could not work in dusty environments
  • Could not use cleaning products (sprays)

Craig did not let these factors dishearten him and remained positive through his job clubs and reviews. Support was provided to Craig in updating his CV and identifying suitable roles. He also took it upon himself to hand out his CV in a number of local retail stores, but had no response from any of them. Even with this, Craig’s confidence and determination never faltered. He was adamant that he would be in employment within 3 months.

In September 2015, an opportunity to work in a local Charity Shop was presented to Craig, and at first he was very enthusiastic and immediately agreed to take the opportunity. The job role was working as a Stock Assistant, dealing with donations, sorting and pricing. From the start of this employment, Craig was extremely adamant that he could do better and felt he wasn’t working to his full potential. We assisted Craig in applying for any retail vacancies that came up, and in November 2015 he gained an interview with Next PLC, which was successful and he was offered employment as a Stockroom Assistant for a contracted 9 hours per week.

The job role in Next was temporary at first to cover the busy Christmas period and opening of new store, so Craig remained in the Charity Shop to ensure he worked 16hrs+ per week so he wouldn’t have to sign back with the Jobcentre.

He took all available shifts at Next, covered absence at short notice, started working on the shop floor and learned how to use the tills. Through his excellent work ethic and commitment to the company he was then offered a permanent role within the Homeware Department. Craig was absolutely delighted at this and appreciated that his hard work had finally paid off.

Craig continued to work hard for the company and was rewarded with an increase in contracted hours in March 2016. He is now contracted to 14hrs per week, but works in excess of 30 every week. Due to these hours, he felt able to leave the Charity Shop and dedicate his time to Next.

Craig has now been employed at Next for 5 months, and has been Unsupported since January 2016. Through regular monitoring and contact with his Manager, we have received excellent feedback regarding Craig:

we are extremely pleased to have been able to offer him this opportunity. His attitude to work is faultless and we often have to tell him to leave at the end of his shifts. He gives everything 110% effort and expects to have all the same tasks as everyone else, regardless of his disabilities. We are very lucky to have Craig as an employee.

        Rhian Conlon – Department Manager