Andrew’s story

What did you expect before you came?

Not sure what to expect really, didn’t think I’d learn much. Had been on job centre courses before and they didn’t really help me. Didn’t think it would be so nice. (Friendly, welcoming, sandwiches !)

What were you doing before the course and how did you feel?

I had been unemployed for 2 years and I felt disappointed when I applied for jobs and didn’t get any interviews. I spent most of my time on the computer – applying for jobs and playing games. I would be on there as soon as I woke up and mostly until I went to bed. I often sat up quite late playing games before going to bed. Then I would sleep most of the day. I had no routine. I didn’t really see anybody else apart from my family. The only good thing I did was work experience at Wilmot Dixon where I was on the IT helpdesk. I’d hoped to get a job there, but I didn’t have enough experience.

What was your experience of the course?

Although I was nervous to start with, the people there were really friendly and made me feel welcome and comfortable. I liked the other people in my small group and it made it easier. I was really nervous meeting new people and I remember feeling really nervous as I walked through the door, but had decided to try it anyway and see how I got on. I’m glad I did because I enjoyed the activities and the whole experience, meeting new people and learning new things.

What are the things that you have taken away and have remembered?

I felt more confident in talking to people. I remember making friends and enjoying their company and how nice they all were.

How has the course helped you? I enjoyed the experience, learning new things and meeting new people. I learned that once you get going and get a positive attitude, life’s not so hard and you can do other new things without them feeling scary. I now have the confidence and find it easier to meet and get to know new people and speak to them face to face, that’s something I used to hate and shy away from. My new confidence means that I CAN tackle new things, especially new tasks without worrying that I will muck it up. I know I CAN learn new things and remember them and do them well.

How has being part of our community helped you?

I loved coming to drop-in on Fridays and chatting and socialising with the others there. I liked helping with the IT and fixing the computers, I felt like part of a team – it was good. I was disappointed they couldn’t afford to pay me to carry on.

What are you doing now?

I now have a job ! I’m working at Sainsbury’s 4 days a week– I love it. I do the early shift from 5-9am. I’ve just passed my Probation and I’ve been recognised as ‘fastest colleague‘ 4 times in the last 2 weeks. My job is picking and packing on-line shopping orders using a hand-held terminal, so I am active all around the store and we have to meet targets of 135 items per hour (IPH). I’ve smashed my target loads of times, sometimes getting over 200iph.

What changes have you experienced since coming to CCN and how do you feel now compared to before?

I’m much more active and happier. I’ve lost a bit of weight because I’m so much more active now and because I always walk to work. I have a much better sleeping pattern – I have a reason to go to bed, because I have to get up to go to work. I like working in a team and feeling part of something. I feel brilliant – I feel free and I’m proud of myself. I have a job with money coming in so I can pay my share of the bills and buy things for myself. Before I was not getting anywhere and had no confidence. Now I can talk to people easily and I quite enjoy it. I talk to customers sometimes when they need help and I show them where things are. My family have noticed the change in me. Before I spent all my time on the Xbox and my gaming computer. I still do that now but probably only for 2 or 3 hours instead of being up really late at night. I do spend some of my money on computer games still but it’s not the only thing I do now so it’s not so bad!

What are your next steps from here?

I am going to continue working hard in my job and help in different departments. I do overtime when they ask me to and because I live so close and can get there in all weathers, sometimes I do extra shifts in my department to help out. I’m working 6 days this week.

Have you got a vision for the future you?

I see myself still being in Sainsbury’s in 2-3 years because it’s a good secure job and fun to work in.

What message would you like to share with people who may be thinking about coming to meet us at CCN?

Give it a go. Try it, you never know you might like it and get something out of it like I did – not only a certificate but more confidence in your ability to get a job! Everyone gets treated equally, they have sandwiches which are quite nice and lots of biscuits. The people are nice and they help you, especially if you’ve got special needs. They (at CCN) make you feel motivated and willing to try new things.