Chris’ Story

“I feel that I must highlight the great work that Positive People and Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change (CN4C) have done in supporting me back into work.”

“I can’t recommend them enough, and I would certainly recommend them to anyone who has drive and desire to succeed but needs help and guidance to get you started.

“They say that ‘even the longest journey starts with a single step’. Well, my journey started with me wishing to return to work after leaving work on the buses to raise my daughter.

“I was happy to leave the buses behind and spend every moment with my daughter – I watched her first step and heard her first word, and all the magical things I had previously missed with my other children. But now I was ready to return to work but hated the thought of going back on the buses. I even suffered anxiety issues thinking that this would be my only option.

“Not wanting to lose hope I googled career advisors and met with Katherine from the National Careers Service. After a long chat it was decided that truck driving would be the ideal job for me as I would be by myself and doing a driving job that I knew I could easily do, as I could use my previous driving experience from driving the buses.

“I was then passed on to Positive People to try and arrange the funding to start my HGV (LGV) training and book my test. I was then referred to Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change as a possible candidate to receive funding. At this point I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to provide me with the help I needed as I thought they only specialised in drug or alcohol problems.

“Luckily times have moved on and although at this point I didn’t expect any help, I still attended an interview with an advisor at CN4C. She was amazing and completely changed my opinion and I left feeling hopeful.

“I was right to feel hopeful as after a couple of meetings the process began to arrange my funding for my training, and to my surprise I was granted the full sum to cover all my training and test fees.

“Unfortunately there were issues booking my training with the training company, and even though myself and my advisor tried our hardest, we just couldn’t get a firm date for my training to commence. After many weeks I gave up hope and asked if there was any chance I could transfer my funding to pay for a welding course at Cornwall College. Amazingly it was dealt with quickly and professionally, and was not a problem. CN4C took control and funded the course.

“Unfortunately it was at this point that my advisor was taken ill and was off work for a long time. But yet again CN4C dealt with this in a quick and professional manner, and I was placed with another lovely advisor. Myself and my new advisor met to discuss the progress to date, and what path I was aiming to go down in the future. It was at this point I felt welding would be a great job goal as it was a trade and I’d be home every night.

“The moment I said that this was my goal, my Change Coach contacted Frankie who works at Cornwall Marine Network.

“I made arrangements to meet with Frankie and at the end of the meeting he had not only sorted out an adult apprenticeship for me (which is like gold dust), but also had arranged for me to attend an interview for a job placement.

“I met with the owners of a welding and fabrication business in Helston – they were a lovely couple and we bonded immediately, and a job offer was given to me that day. It did mean I would have to gain additional qualifications and training prior to starting full time, like a CSCS card so I could work on building sites.

“Again this was not a problem and I was booked onto a course at Q&A in Redruth, and passed with flying colours. Also, because of the link, my future employers agreed that I could work one day a week (which was great for me when arranging childcare) just so I could get experience of attending a workplace and learning what would be expected of me prior to starting. Basically to help ease myself back into work after being off for a couple of years.

“While gaining my CSCS card it was made clear that anyone operating a forklift would need to obtain a forklift licence, and I had heard that where I was going to be working had plans to purchase a forklift in the next few weeks.

“Obviously as things had progressed with my training and with getting experience on my “sample days” at work (as I used to call them), I now had discovered that I was going to need further help. Unfortunately I had to drop the bombshell that I needed further help to gain my forklift licence and I also had to obtain engineering tools for my new job prior to starting full time.

“Amazingly my Change Coach was immediately on the case and arranged funding for my tools, and I was given a date for a fully paid forklift test. I was in total shock and often thought to myself if there is actually anything these guys can’t do? Well, this was to be put to the test.

“My future boss discovered that I had experience of driving large vehicles and asked if I could drive the trucks he owned. It didn’t take long to realise that the one truck he desperately wanted me to drive required me to have an HGV (LGV) Class 2 category on my licence.

“I knew that I had previously been approved for the funding, but this was before my welding course, my CSCS course, my forklift licence and the tools I needed, and as I had been given all of this I felt certain that I stood absolutely no chance of getting much, if any, further funding. Especially when we were talking £1500.00 for my HGV(LGV) training and test. But as my Change Coach was so kind and easily approachable I figured I should ask, but didn’t hold out much hope as it was a bit cheeky and fully expected a refusal straight away.

“To my surprise she said she would try and see what she could do and, like a fairy Godmother, she had it fully funded and booked up in record time. Is there anything these guys at CN4C can’t do? I honestly don’t think so!

“Anyway, it has taken a lot of time and training, but I’m now an adult apprentice welder and fabricator with my CSCS card, a forklift licence, a toolbox full of tools, and a HGV (LGV) Class 2 driver.

“I honestly wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the help and support of everyone mentioned. Not only have these people and companies financially supported me, but they have given me so much more – they have given me a future and shown faith in me, and my drive to succeed.

“Sometimes just knowing someone has your back and wants to help you can provide you with a deep feeling of warmth and happiness. These folks at CN4C are true miracle workers and I not only owe them a sincere apology, because I doubted their ability to help me based on a previous experience, but I also owe them the greatest debt of thanks that I could ever offer anyone.

“These guys have not only given me a future, but they’ve made me feel that anything is possible – especially when you’ve got them in your corner.

“Thanks again”.

Chris CT Knuckey