Stephen Smith aged 53 joined Mon Communities First in June 2015. At the time Stephen had not worked since July 2004. Stephen by his own admission stated he was unable to read or write and this had held him back throughout his life. Our immediate thoughts as the LIFT team were how we could build Stephen’s confidence up to a level where he was confident to speak to people and to interact with others.

The LIFT team decided that Stephen would benefit by completing voluntary work and so he began by initially volunteering one day a week at Mon CF’s Training Academy as an Environmental Assistant. As part of this Stephen worked intensively alongside his Environmental Mentors completing various grass cutting and horticultural duties, additionally Stephen completed CIEH accredited qualifications in the Principles of Manual Handling, Health and Safety in the Workplace to mention but two as well as an additional specific environmental Lantra qualification in strimming.

Stephen became an integral party of the team at Mon CF and his enthusiasm and passion for his voluntary work was evident for all to see, he became a person that would put a smile on all the team’s faces. During discussions between the LIFT team and the team at Mon CF’s Training Academy the it became apparent that Stephen felt ready to move into employment. A target was set to find Stephen a suitable role by June 2016, this was done by completing application forms and attending interview skills sessions that allowed Stephen to gain an interview at the Morrisons store in Holyhead.

The close relationship that had been built by our Employment Engagement Officer with the Morrisons Holyhead store allowed for Stephen’s glowing personal reference to be seen prior to his interview which subsequently assisted in Stephen obtaining his first job interview in 12 years. As is seen from the photograph below Stephen was successful in gaining employment as Fresh Food Assistant at the Morrisons, Holyhead store on a 16 hour a week contract. Stephen continues to volunteer with Mon Communities First as an environmental Assistant in his days off showing a tremendous work ethic and attitude.