Against the odds, Stoke-on-Trent resident Craig Tomlinson has managed to land a great job with prospects, and best of all, it coincides with him becoming a dad for the first time.

Craig, 20, had struggled to find work since leaving full time education, and had been on various back to work training schemes. The only job he’d secured in the last few years was a number of weeks temporary maintenance work at a local hotel. He was feeling very frustrated and didn’t know what to do next.

Craig was referred onto the Government’s Work Programme with Interserve Learning & Employment. in November last year, and was to attend their local delivery partner in Hanley, back to work experts sencia.

At his initial assessment and induction he met with Assessor Abida Haq and it was during their first appointment that Craig confided in Abida that he felt very low in terms of his mood. When she asked why he felt this way he told her that he had previous criminal convictions and that his ex-partner was expecting his child. After struggling to get a stable job for so long he truly believed there was no way of turning his life around. In his own words he said, “I am never going to get a job”

Abida assured Craig that sencia. would be able to help him and that they would not let him down, they just needed him to try his best and things would change.

She commented: “I reassured him by explaining that we would provide continuous support, and that I have an open door policy, so he could come to me if he had any problems. At sencia. we don’t let people down and I told him that.”

Abida explained the stages of his journey back to work and by the end of the first session Craig had a newly structured CV and was feeling a lot more positive about his future.

He was assigned a Case Manager, Tracy Bourne, and regularly attended the centre which included weekly appointments with Tracy as well as successfully completing several accredited NCFE units in employability skills, seven in total, which is a fantastic achievement.

Tracy said: “Craig was really eager and enthusiastic; he attended all his appointments and training courses, consistently demonstrating a positive and pro-active approach.”

With their guidance he searched for jobs, applying for various vacancies online with companies including Asda, Sainsbury’s Distribution Centre, New Look and various others for labouring positions.

Abida also signposted Craig to possible Apprenticeship opportunities, which he could apply for due to his age. As part of this she organised a place for him at one of the Apprenticeship open days held at another nearby sencia. branch in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

In the first week of April Craig was asked to attend an interview for a potential job at Industrial Coleman Moducel, a large air conditioning company based in Stoke. This was arranged by sencia.’s Employment Relation Advisors. After the interview Craig returned to sencia. with positive feedback and looking very smart in full business attire. Showing his commitment to finding work, Craig decided to stay at the centre to continue to use the computers to look for vacancies for the rest of the day. A few hours later, Craig received a call from the employer who offered him a full time position, which he could start the very next day.

Craig and the team at sencia. were overjoyed at this news, and he couldn’t thank them enough: “It was the best programme that I have ever been on. I was so surprised to be offered a job, I never could have done it without the support I’ve received at sencia.. They helped to give me confidence I needed to succeed.”

Abida said: “The combination of securing a job and the news of becoming a father has given Craig a new outlook on life. He wants to do well and create a positive future for his family. I always knew he would do well he just didn’t believe in himself.”

Kerry Clayton, Centre manager at sencia. Hanley commented: “We would like to wish Craig all the best in his new role but the team will keep in touch to ensure he feels supported to stay in work and make this change for the better a permanent one.”