A rewarding career change sees Ross swap Tradesman for Technician

An ex-tradesman from Surrey, suffering with a chronic health condition has found a new career in IT with the help of Kennedy Scott’s South East of England SES team.

38-year-old Ross joined Kennedy Scott’s national Specialist Employability Support programme in October 2015, part- funded by the European Social Fund, it provides personalised employment support for adults with complex health conditions.

Ross was a self-employed tradesman until 2005, but poor health meant he couldn’t continue to work a physical job. Ross said: “My health problems started when I was about seventeen, by my mid-twenties working was very difficult. I had been self-employed in construction since leaving school and didn’t know how to do anything else”.

“I became terribly depressed, I had two young girls and a partner, I felt pretty useless and I lost my confidence. I became so afraid of hurting myself, I stopped riding my bike and eventually doctors told me I would never return to the trades”.

Kennedy Scott provided Ross with a personalised Circle of Support; this included his wife Julie, who attended appointments to lend her support. Kennedy Scott was able to demonstrate to Ross and Julie, through a better off calculation, how their family would benefit financially with Ross being in work. Ross’ condition, which is degenerative, meant he needed to find a position that wasn’t physically demanding and after discussing his job goals with his Caseworker, Kieron, it was agreed a career change was the best option.

With skills, qualifications and a strong interest in IT, Ross set out on finding a career in this field, completing further specialist IT training along the way to improve his chances of securing a position.

Ross said: “I was beginning to flounder slightly with job hunting. Meeting the [Kennedy Scott] team helped me to get back on track and consider my options and fortunately I discovered tech as a hobby, the more I found out about computers the more I wanted to know”.

Ross’ dedication to finding work, described by his Caseworker as ‘a real hunger to change his situation,' paid off in March, when he secured a full-time position as a Customer Assistant Technician at a Surrey Headquartered IT specialist firm.

In preparation for his transition from jobseeker to employee, Kennedy Scott helped Ross to plan his journey to work, talked him through the changes from benefits to wages and provided financial support.

Now five months into his role, Ross said: “I am really enjoying work. I am riding my bike every day, eating well and sleeping every night. My routine is fantastic and we look forward to the weekend as a family.

“I feel I have the support of my family, colleagues and Kennedy Scott if I struggle. Having the continued support of Kennedy Scott is that extra bit of security. It is surprisingly scary making such a change but it is so worth it. I have got a job that pays and it feels great.”

Ross’ Caseworker, Kieron Furness said: “Ross has a debilitating condition that has severely limited his life. Despite this he remained adamant throughout his journey that he would find work again.

“Adding structure to Ross’ week made a real change because it gave him a reason to get up each morning.

“Ross is enjoying being back in employment and has been offered training opportunities at his new company and he feels like a valued member of the team. His employer is understanding of his disability and has provided him with the suitable in-work support.

“His family life has been affected positively as a result and the biggest change I have noticed in Ross is his increased confidence and positivity.”