Motor man James up for national gong

Weymouth man and Links to Work customer James Croucher has been shortlisted for a national award after turning his life around through an employability programme.

James, 39, from Weymouth, was unemployed and facing drugs charges when he signed up to the Links to Work programme in Dorset.

Wanting to turn his life around, James worked with the Links to Work team to rebuild his confidence, gain some structure in his life and plan a route back into suitable employment.

He gained a supermarket job, impressed his bosses and quickly managed to find his way back into the motor industry that he has worked in before. He’s now been shortlisted for the Significant Achievement Award at the ERSA Employability Awards.

James said: “I lost my job due to being arrested for drugs charges. Having lost my job, my home and family I had lost all confidence and self-esteem. Whilst technically self-inflicted, it was a sure sharp shock back to reality. Links to work helped me gain some structure and confidence to approach a return to work.

“My charges were holding me back immensely. Do I disclose or not? What do I say moving forward and how much do I need to say to any future employer? Links to Work understood my situation and supported me 100% of the way and gave me the confidence to take back my working life.

“I feel humble and honoured to be shortlisted for this award. It's hard to see how far you have come unless others spell it out, and this certainly makes me look back and how far I have come along in the past year.”

Personal Consultant Emma Davis said: “It is fantastic to see James progress so soon in to paid employment. His attitude and commitment to succeed has really paid off. James has always been motivated and wanted to be proactive in his job search. When he got his first job again, his confidence shone through and has even come back to talk to our customers about his experiences to help other people in similar positions.”

Funded by the European Social Fund and Department for Work and Pensions, Links to Work is a voluntary programme providing tailored support for people with multiple barriers to work, including those with disabilities, on their journey towards employment.

The winners of the ERSA Employability Awards will be announced at a special ceremony on 20 June, attended by the Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma MP.

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You can still sign up for the Links to Work programme if you're from Leicestershire. Sign up for our free employment support and we'll work with you to overcome your barriers and get you the job you want.