AFTER five months of applying for more than 50 jobs and only getting one interview, grandfather Jim Keating met Paul Becouarn.
Thanks to that meeting in July at Rossendale Works, a careers’ fair organised by Rossendale Council at the Adrenaline Centre in Haslingden, Employability Officer Paul matched Jim with Caswell Engineering in Haslingden.
After three days on a temporary contract he was offered a full time position.
Jim and his wife Ruth had relocated from Oldham to Haslingden when they downsized in March 2018. His short-term driving contract with Yodel was coming to an end so he was looking for work.
The time-served engineer had worked for 17 years with GEC Plessy Telecoms, opted for voluntary redundancy in 2014 and went self-employed.
Jim, 58, applied online for many jobs, but only secured one interview – as a delivery driver with frozen food company Iceland. However that job eventually went to someone who also had retail experience.
Through the Rossendale Works project Paul matches unemployed people with employers who are willing to offer work experience.
Clients can still claim benefits and receive travel expenses and at the end of 6-8 weeks they may be offered a full time position if one is available or receive a reference.
Jim said: “I started work on the Monday and by the Wednesday the Production Manager who interviewed me Alan Davies came and said that I could have a full time job.
“I knew I could do the job because I had previously been a sheet metal worker and done welding so I had the skills. I have now been promoted to a fabricator.”
The company designs, manufactures, installs and maintains air conditioning systems.
Jim said: “I have now got pride back in myself. I have something to get up for in a morning because I had got into a rut and I was not my usual self.
“I had applied for jobs all over Lancashire and Greater Manchester and I believe the only reason I was unable to get an interview was down to my age.
“I work with a really great bunch of lads and I will probably be working until 67 and then maybe go part-time.”
Ruth, who is a nurse, said: “You get demoralised when you think about all the experience and the skill set that Jim has and yet he couldn’t get as job; it was just not fair and then you realised it was probably because of his age.
“The jobs fair was so good and as soon as Paul started talking to Jim he said that he knew just the company for him and he introduced him to Caswell.
“I think it is also good that Paul will go along to the interview with the client because for some people an interview can be very daunting and it is good to have someone in your corner.”
A further Rossendale Works careers’ fair will be held on Tuesday July 9 again at the Adrenaline Centre.
Rossendale Works is a partnership between Rossendale Council, Active Lancashire, Sport England and the Department of Work and Pensions.
The council would be pleased to speak to businesses that are able to offer work trial placements as well as individuals seeking employment, please contact Economic Development at Rossendale Council, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01706 252480.