Former Soldier returns to work after 13 years unemployment

Peter, a soldier with 10 years’ service in the German Armed Forces worked all over the world, until relocating his family and settling at Camp Merrion, Pembrokeshire.
In 1997, Peter left the armed forces and embarked on a new challenge by going to university to study (HND) Energy Resources and Renewable Energy. After completion, Peter hoped to go on to complete his degree but financially he needed to work, so started working as a long distance lorry driver. In 2001, Peter and his family suffered a tragedy which resulted in him becoming a single parent of two young boys.

Peter faced a new challenge, he put his career dreams on hold, and brought up his two young boys. It was a difficult time as the family had no income and in 2010 Peter’s health began to deteriorate when he suffered a debilitating lower back and knee injury.

After 13 years of unemployment, Peter was desperate to get back to work but he couldn’t find work anywhere, especially as his back and knee injury restricted the type of work he was able to do. In 2016, he was referred to Workways+ by Jobcentre Plus. He was assigned a mentor, who worked on his confidence, wrote a new CV and paid for him to get his CSCS Card, NVQ Level 1 Health & Safety in the Construction Environment and CCSNG.

Peter attended the Workways+ Jobs Fair in May 2017, which was attended by local training providers and companies. He brought his CV along and approached Valero Energy Ltd., asking if he could do some work experience with them in the stores at their Pembroke Refinery. Valero were impressed by his ambition and determination and partnered with Workways+ to arrange the work placement.

During his work experience, Peter exceeded all expectations and Valero recognised his initiative and eagerness to learn. Whilst on work experience a full-time vacancy became available and Peter was offered the job.

Nicky Howells, Valero Learning and Development Manager said: ‘When Peter approached us at the Jobs Fair, his can-do, positive attitude was clearly evident and based on that we were very pleased to liaise with Workways+ to secure a placement in our stores for three weeks. Peter proved to be an excellent worker and a pleasure to have around. During his placement a position became available in the stores and we offered him a full time, permanent job.’

Peter said: ‘I can’t thank Workways+ enough, I didn’t know where to turn and I just wanted a chance to show what I could do. I’m a hard worker and was desperate to get back to work to support my family and get my life back. My Workways+ mentor, Jackie, helped me regain my confidence and made me believe in myself again. When I approached Valero at the jobs fair, I just wanted a chance to show my skills. My life is so much better now I have a permanent job, and a steady income. After a hard few years, my boys have grown into amazing young men, I couldn’t be prouder and I too am looking forward to my future.’

Jackie Gilderdale, Workways+ mentor said ‘Peter is an inspiration, his enthusiasm and dedication was infectious. I am delighted Peter came to us and that we were able to help, he just wanted that chance to show he could work. Valero were amazing and they saw in him what we saw, I couldn’t be happier and wish him and his boys a bright future.’

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Councillor Paul Miller, said: “Congratulations to both Peter and Workways+. This feel-good story gives hope to all those currently seeking employment.”

Workways+ is led by Neath Port Talbot Council, in collaboration with Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion councils. The project, which is backed with £7.4 million from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, aims to tackle the barriers that prevent individuals from finding employment.

Find out more by contacting our office in your local area

Neath Port Talbot