Illness is often unexpected and can change a person’s life dramatically. Neath resident Jason Hislop had a successful career as a teacher achieving the position of Head of Physical Education for over a decade. Jason had a career path ahead of him. Then Jason life took a turn for the worse when he was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is a rare auto immune system disease that can cause fatigue and painful swelling in joints. Jason health was greatly affected by this disease causing him stress and anxiety to the extent that he was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Jason’s life began to unravel as he fought with the symptoms of both the disease and the PTSD. Jason left his job and his marriage broke down. Jason was at an all-time low point in his life suffering from severe depression and he needed support to get back on track. That support came from many organisations from the personal perspective but linked to employment it came from support service Workways+. Despite the UK national lockdown, Jason contacted Workways+. Workways+ assigned him a mentor, Neil Sullivan to work with him on a 1-1 basis via WhatsApp and other sharing apps.
Neil started working with Jason to help him build his confidence and to focus on what his next steps should be. Although Jason loved teaching in schools, he felt like he may need a new beginning. Neil recommended developing Jason’s skills to give him further options. A training course was identified, ‘Marketing and Media’ and Workways+ paid the cost of the course. Jason completed the course and was awarded the certificate. In time Jason hopes to set up a business, the marketing course was critical in that process. Next Neil helped Jason in his search for a suitable job and get back into full time employment. Neil brought in Charlie, one of the Workways+ Employment Liaisons Officers (ELO). Charlie’s role in the service is to support employers, helping them to recruit suitable staff from the base of people Workways+ supports. Charlie immediately started to put forward opportunities for Jason. One of those was the role of ‘Men’s Resilience Support Worker’ with the Neath Port Talbot social enterprise ‘Motiv-8’. The Men’s resilience support worker role was with Mal’s Marauders to which my application was selected for interview. In the meantime, Neil recommended a job from Indeed ‘performance coach & mentor’ which Jason applied for and successful at interview stage. He is now extremely happy working for a company called Motiv8.
Neil and Charlie helped Jason prepare for the interview and Jason was successful and has now started a three month contract to help support ex-offenders.
Jason said, “Life can sometimes pull the rug from under your feet and your world can fall apart. Workways+ was there to help me get my confidence back and give practical support, despite Covid 19. I would thoroughly recommend them to anyone looking to get into work.”
Workways+ is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government. Workways + is available in Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.
For further information please access www.workways.wales.