Josh came to the Towards Work Programme in January 2020. He had worked in the hospitality sector for many years, but due to a degenerative eye condition he had to leave his last employer – after which he was registered as blind. Josh had always been in work up until this point, but with his further loss of sight, he was not only having to re-learn the process of finding work, but he was also navigating a completely new world.

Whilst on the programme we were able to support Josh with one-to-one mentoring sessions to discover his rights as an adult with a disability in the workplace, as well as helping him with careers advice. Josh was interested in finding warehouse or factory work, which included production and manual handling. Josh hadn’t had much need for computers so didn’t have the skills to word process, send emails, or look for work. The programme provided him with a laptop, magnification software and found him a suitable IT course to develop his computer skills and make him ready for the job market.

During the programme, Josh unfortunately became homeless. The programme was able to find temporary accommodation and food for Josh, before more secure housing was available. Despite living in emergency accommodation during this time, Josh started volunteering at Disability Support Nottingham as a call handler, working with other people who have a variety of disabilities. This gave him the opportunity to gain experience in a new working environment as well as give him the confidence to try new things and become aware of what he was capable of.  Josh was also determined to complete his IT course, and in July of that year, he did just that.

Following on from this, he used his newfound IT skills to create a CV and cover letter tailored towards warehouse work and learnt how to navigate job sites and apply for positions. His work coach encouraged him to arrange a meeting with a local employment agency to increase his chances of work. Through this, Josh gained temporary employment at a warehouse packing boxes. We kept in touch with Josh after his time on the programme and within a few months he had secured a permanent contract with a food production company in Nottingham. Needless to say, he is now in full-time employment.

Josh had this to say about the programme and its Work Coaches:

“I just want to say thank you very much for all the hard work and commitment you have put in to me on the programme… you taught me quite a lot. I thought I knew a lot being a disabled person, but you have given me the tool kit for what I need as a disabled person, so I am forever grateful. Everything has always been clear with your programme right from the start – I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.” – Josh

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