Foundations for Life strikes again

Monday, 25th November 2019

Karbon's Foundations for Life team helps Karbon residents to reach their career goals or personal aspirations. With a team of employment advisers and digital coaches, whatever it is our residents set out to achieve, the team are there for support.

Stanley customer, John Milner, and Foundations for Life Employment Adviser, Janine Pearson, chat through how they’ve worked together to turn things around for John after years of being out of work, with a work placement with Springs Roofing in Stanley.

Janine: Our Money Matters team put me in touch with John to see if I could help as he was struggling with his finances. He has a baby on the way and he was keen to prepare for its arrival. John had completed some work experience in the past but had never had any paid work. He wanted help to improve his chances of finding a job or an apprenticeship. He was a very quiet man when I first started working with him and rarely left his home.

John: When I was at school, I always wanted to get a job doing something practical and working outside. Things didn’t go to plan with my painting and decorating college course and I ended up living in a homeless shelter for a year and a half before getting my Karbon home. It’s been the first stable place I’ve had to live and it’s been great. But without work I was constantly in the house and felt really boxed in. I had no money to go anywhere or do anything. It was making me ill. I knew I needed to try to get some work, to do something with my days and be productive.

Janine: I met with John in a series of one-to-one sessions in which we updated his CV and started job searching activity. A calculation by the Money Matters Team reassured John that an apprenticeship was financially viable, so we extended the search to include these opportunities too. John needed help easing into work and I spotted the perfect opportunity for him, working with one of our suppliers, Springs Roofing. As part of their contract with us, Springs Roofing offer a paid work placement to one of our residents – providing a customer with the opportunity to get valuable work experience, a reference for future job applications, and a valuable step into the industry. I knew John would need some support to change his mindset towards work and to get into a routine of getting up early, but I thought it was an ideal opportunity for him.

John: The older you get, the harder it gets to get into work so I was glad of the help. This felt like getting a second chance. It wasn’t too hard to get into a routine for work. That said, I did set four alarms each day to make sure I got up in time! I’m now down to just one at 6am and once I’ve had three cuppas I’m just about ready. The site is walking distance from home so I don’t need transport to get there.

Janine: John has done really well. He’s now well established with his colleagues and his boss tells me he’s really part of the team, regularly joining in with the banter on site. He has learned how to adapt in a work environment and is coming up with good ideas. He has really matured over the course of the placement and it’s great to see.

John: Everything in my life has changed. My depression and my moods have improved. It’s much better at home because we aren’t living over each other all of the time. We can go out at weekends and do things that I could never have afforded before and that feels good. I can use my wages to buy things for the baby and I’m now much more confident about getting a full-time job or a contract.

Janine works as part of Karbon's Foundations for Life team, which is here to help with employment advice and digital skills. For more information on how the team can help you reach your career goals or personal aspirations, email
foundations@karbonhomes.co.uk or call on 0191 223 8750.