Meet Alex

"The employability workshops focussed on positive thinking and I overcame some limiting beliefs about what I could do."

A Newport man, out of work for 20 years following life changing surgery, landed the perfect role despite the pandemic’s disruption.

Alex, 46, joins the British Red Cross as an administrator after receiving support from Cyfle Cymru Gwent, Kaleidoscope’s out of work service. Since reaching out to the programme in December Alex has overcome the barriers, both physical and mental, that made finding work challenging.

Life Changing Surgery

Alex suffered with Crohn’s disease for most of his childhood. His condition was so severe that he had to be fed by intravenous drip. He was one of the UK’s first patients to undergo a risky transplant procedure when he was 35.

Despite the pandemic, Alex is enjoying a smooth transition into the world of work and has even helped solve COVID19 related challenges. ‘‘I’ve joined an incredibly supportive team, they allowed me to settle in and didn’t expect me to know everything right away. It was clear we’d soon all be working from home, and being a new member of the team I had some worries, but they put me at ease and it’s been smooth sailing since. The work has kept me busy and each week I’ve helped to collate pharmacy prescriptions, which have increased during the outbreak.’’

A New Start

He continued: ‘‘In large part I owe becoming work ready to my Cyfle Cymru mentors, when I spoke to them I felt truly understood.

The employability workshops focussed on positive thinking and I overcame some limiting beliefs about what I could do. Most of my experience had been in IT support, but their coaching helped me to explore different options.

Whenever I’d tried to get employment support before, I felt no one really listened to my unique challenges. It was discouraging to be recommended jobs involving heavy lifting and other physical demands that my surgery simply won’t allow me to do’’.

Giving Back

Before accepting his new position, Alex volunteered his time at Addenbrooke hospital, often making two hour round trips to reassure patients awaiting transplant surgery that a full recovery is possible. This energy to help others led him to meet wife Diana, following his involvement with the charity Multi Organ Transplant Support (MOTS), founded by Diana’s niece to help adults who have undergone the surgery.

Cyfle Cymru Gwent helps people to develop confidence, and provide support to access training, qualifications and work experience. The initiative helps people affected by substance use and/or mental health conditions to gain the skills necessary to enter the world of work.

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