Back to work scheme secures latest job success story
Published by Kelly Elliott for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities
From l-r: Brighter Futures Employment Initiatives Coordinator Michelle Graham, Elddis HR Coordinator Susan Dunwiddie and Michael Stevenson.
A County Durham man is celebrating after securing his dream job with a local employer thanks to support he received from a ‘back to work’ scheme.
Michael Stevenson has been taken on as a Warehouse Operative by internationally renowned Consett-based caravan and motorhome company Elddis.
During the application process the 26-year-old was given help and advice from the Brighter Futures project - a scheme run by local housing association Derwentside Homes to help unemployed people in the area back into work and training.
Having never had an official job interview before, Michael was understandably nervous, but Brighter Futures set up mock interviews and supported him through his application, meaning he was fully prepared and ready to impress the Elddis interview panel.
Michael, of Chilton, Co Durham, had previously worked as a supervisor for Social Housing Enterprise Durham (SHED) - a project also run by Derwentside Homes which provides a handyman service to local people while offering training to employees at the same time.
He said: “My contract at SHED was coming to an end after two-and-a-half years so I was looking around for something else. Having worked in a warehouse environment before I had a lot of the qualifications needed, so when I saw the Elddis job I knew I wanted to apply.
“I was worried though because I’ve never had to do a formal interview before and didn’t know what to expect. The advice I got from Brighter Futures was great and the mock interviews made me feel much more confident so when it came to the real thing I was fully prepared.
“I’d definitely recommend the project to other people looking for support with finding a job.”
The Brighter Futures scheme was set up last year thanks to funding from North East Procurement (NEP). It has since worked with more than 300 people, helping 257 access training courses and 85 into work.
The scheme’s Employment Initiatives Officer Michelle Graham said: “The aim of Brighter Futures is to help local people back into work or training by whatever means possible, whether it’s boosting people’s confidence, giving them new skills such as computer training or showing them how to look for jobs.
“In Michael’s case he had found a job he wanted to apply for but just needed some support preparing his application and getting ready for the interview.
“We’re delighted that he got the job and wish him every success in his new career.”
Michael joins Elddis at an exciting time for the company, which is the first and only manufacturer to build fully bonded caravans and motorhomes. SoLiD construction, as it is called, has led to sustained growth for the company – including expansion overseas, and puts Elddis firmly at the forefront of the leisure vehicle industry.
Elddis HR Coordinator Susan Dunwiddie said: “We’ve recently created 30 new positions, including a number of apprenticeships, and are very proud of our strong, local workforce.
“Michael did very well in his interview and spoke passionately about his skills and experience - the support he had from Brighter Futures definitely came across and we’ve been really impressed with his progress since he joined us.”
To find out more about the Brighter Futures project please contact Michelle Graham on 0777 183 1733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org