Volunteer – Alex

Alex joined Glasgow Wood in 2011 as a volunteer and is now employed as Machine Shop and Retail Assistant with the company. For Alex, customer satisfaction and the environmental benefits of wood recycling are important aspects of his work.

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Alex’s story
I’m from the East End of Glasgow. I used to do unskilled manual labour for the council and I came to Glasgow Wood in January 2011 as a volunteer. The recycling idea appealed to me and I wanted to fill up my day. I knew in myself I could contribute something although I was struggling to get a job.

When I started, I remember feeling like part of the team, with the volunteer coordinator taking me under his wing. There was the freedom to do as much as you wanted to do.

Developing skills 
Then there were the whisky barrels, and I took that on; I sometimes get called the Barrel Man. People seemed to have confidence in me to do that, and that was great for me. I felt the benefit of that, that I was doing something useful.

Being in front of the workshop meant I was in touch with the customers. I enjoyed telling them about us, and I was encouraged to take that on. I do the Saturday retail shift now. I’ve got my fork lift licence as well. I still feel I can learn more. I’m going on a welding course this year.

A sense of freedom 
I like the variety in here; there’s plenty to keep me busy. After just over three years as a volunteer, I was taken on as an employee. It meant I could have more pride in myself. Having a wage is a big thing. Having a wage gives me more freedom.

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