Benjamin came as a trainee on our Making Wood Work programme in May 2015. Before that, he hadn’t had paid work since 2001. Now Benjamin has a full-time job with a food processing company in Cambuslang.
I used to travel all around the country on coach trips, including Penzance a few times, and I saw the total eclipse there in 1999. I was thinking of either moving to the West Country or Scotland, and in the end I chose Scotland because I found the weather and seasons interesting.
Before I came to Glasgow Wood, I was going to the Jobsearch training and I was looking for voluntary work. When I got a place here I was very pleased, as before that I seemed to be getting nowhere.
At Glasgow Wood
I liked making the sculptures: the plant boxes, cabinets, benches, chairs, tables and so on with the hand held tools. I liked going around the back and working with the furniture stock in there.
Where I work now is the other side of Glasgow so I leave my flat at 5am to get there. I go through Scotstoun at 5.45am in the morning where the wood work factory is just down the road, while its inhabitants are still tucked up in bed. I will go back and visit Glasgow Wood. It will be a trip down memory lane.
At the local Job Centre earlier this year, my Disability Employment Adviser told me that although I have been doing lots of different things, my last actual paid employment was in 2001. He said an employer would be very reluctant to take someone on who hasn’t been in paid employment for 13 years.
One day he drew a line chart on a piece of paper. He put NO JOB at the left hand end of the line and JOB at the right hand end of the line. He asked me where I thought I was on the line. I put a cross in the middle.
He said “So you think you’re somewhere in the middle? I would say you are more here” and he put a cross near the beginning of the line where it said NO JOB. Which makes it even more amazing that I have the job in the food factory now. I am at the right hand end of the line!
And the difference?
Definitely it is easier to look for a job when you’re already working. My adviser said that when you’re looking for employment, if they see that you’re willing to work as a volunteer then you’ve got a good chance. It worked for me anyway!