Craig's Christmas dream comes true after a year of hard work

Daily Echo: Craig, front right, with Laura Coleman from the Rainbow Project, left, and the staff at W.J. French & Son Craig, front right, with Laura Coleman from the Rainbow Project, left, and the staff at W.J. French & Son

LAST year Craig got his dream Christmas present – his first ever job.

Having never had paid employment before Craig, then 23, secured a yearlong work placement with Daily Echobacked scheme Life Chances, run by Southampton’s Rainbow Project.

And this year, as his placement comes to an end, another Christmas dream has come true – he has secured a new job with Sainsbury’s in Hedge End.

The scheme helps disadvantaged young people in the area who are struggling to find work.

Craig has had a fantastic year working at W.J. French & Son in Bedford Place, Southampton. His wages were paid by Skandia, who sponsored him through the Rainbow Project.

During his time at the shoe shop, Craig has had 100 per cent attendance and has not been late for work once!

“It’s been a great year and has made me realise what I want to do in life,”

said Craig from Southampton.

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity from the Rainbow Project. They’ve given me every support and helped me to feel secure in my job and to gain independence. I’ve done a lot of work with my mentor, who I will carry on seeing.”

Craig added that he was sad that his job at WJ French & Son was coming to an end, but was excited about his new job.

During his time on the Life Chances scheme as well as having paid work he has been supported by a mentor and has also studied literacy and numeracy skills at college. This has built-up his CV to allow him to gain employment elsewhere. Laura Coleman, who runs the Rainbow Project, also helped Craig in his job search.

“He is definitely a success story,” she said. “He’d applied for a job at Sainsbury’s before but not had an interview. This time he had far more work experience and skills to put on his application and he got an interview and a job. He now has a track record of reliability, trustworthiness and integrity.”

Phil Hine, operations director at Skandia, said: “Skandia are very proud to have sponsored Craig through Rainbow Life Chances.

We’ve had regular updates from Craig throughout the year and have enjoyed hearing of the new skills he’s developed as part of this opportunity. We’ve seen his confidence grow and wish him all the best in his new role.”

Laura added: “Everyone at the Rainbow Project is really pleased that Craig has successfully completed his year with the Life Chances Scheme and we’re really proud to see him move on to work at Sainsbury’s.

“We will continue to mentor him to ensure a smooth transition to his new employer.

“The outcome shows that given a chance a young person like Craig will grab it with both hands and go on to gain independent employment.”

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