I ended up in the right place!
Says Mike about his experience of the Surrey Care Trust, which has helped him to get back into employment after being out of work for over 10 years due to his disability.
Mike has congenital glaucoma and in 2008, lost his sight completely. An experienced computer programmer, Mike lost his job and then his relationship and, as he struggled to find work, his confidence plummeted.
Mike was referred to the Trust’s Alliance project in 2019. The project provided free one to one support to help people who ere struggling to get back into work because of additional problems, such as poor mental or physical health, addiction, homelessness or domestic abuse, low maths, English or digital skills, a lack of childcare or a criminal record.
Emma, the Trust’s Alliance Support Worker, helped Mike practically with things like getting his c.v. up to date, creating a LinkedIn profile and website searches. But Emma also provided emotional support by encouraging Mike when he felt dispirited and keeping him focussed on his job search. At first they met in person and then virtually when the pandemic started.
The lockdowns proved to have a silver lining for Mike, as the increase in home-working created new employment opportunities. Now, three years after first seeking help from the Trust, Mike has a new job as a software engineer for a multi-national company, which values his knowledge of an older computer programming language as a legacy skill.
Emma is still providing support while Mike settles into his new job, but he’s feeling very positive now about the future. Mike says:
I really can’t say enough good words about Emma and the Alliance project. If I hadn’t had that support, then I would still be where I was – doing nothing much and just getting by financially.
“Now I can pay my way, I’m more independent and I’m feeling very, very good about this job. It’s changed my outlook on life completely.”
The Alliance Programme was funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund to help tackle social isolation and help bring people closer to the workplace.