Shoaib Narma, 30, is delighted to have found work – for the first time in his life, almost 15 years after leaving full-time education.

“Everything was fine when I was 17. I was in training but when I hit 18 I wasn’t and had to sign on. It wasn’t nice. I thought I’d get a job but I kept going around in circles. I didn’t know what to do. I kept getting some support but it wasn’t helping,” said Shoaib.

Shoaib, who has some learning difficulties, had been on benefits since leaving full-time education in 2003 with no qualifications. In this time he only had one job interview and a handful of work experience placements.

After eight years without an interview and with his confidence in a downward spiral, Shoaib voluntarily signed up to the Links to Work programme in Leicester, run by employment, skills and offender rehabilitation provider Working Links.

Links to Work is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and European Social Fund and helps unemployed people over 25 across Leicestershire overcome their barriers and into work.

Shoaib was partnered with a team of personal consultants who quickly recognised Shoaib’s potential and set about delivering a plan of action to first rebuild his confidence and then prepare him for suitable roles.

The team helped to rework Shoaib’s CV to include his previous voluntary work and they worked closely with Shoaib to find job opportunities suitable for his career aspirations. The hard work paid off within weeks, with Shoaib landing his first interview in years.

Despite being unsuccessful, Shoaib’s determination grew thanks to reassurance from the team working to support him. Soon after, the team sourced an opportunity at Leicester College working as a facilities cleaner and after impressing at interview, Shoaib was offered the job.

“Being in work is great. I have a lot more confidence now and I’m not claiming any benefits. I don’t depend on anyone for handouts any more. It’s the first time in more than ten years that I’ve not been claiming benefits and it feels great,” said Shoaib.

“Once Shoaib had attended the first interview, the sense of achievement for him was shining through and we were so pleased that this experience had been pleasurable and empowering for Shoaib. Unfortunately, he was pipped at the post by someone with a little more experience.

“Together, we built on this experience to identify the role at Leicester College and gave him the tools he needed to apply and be successful. He put everything the team had worked on with him into practice,” said Duncan Bell, one of the consultants who worked closely with Shoaib to help him find a job.

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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