At the age of 56 it was a daunting prospect for Stephen Burton when last October he found himself unemployed for the first time since he left school. He had also just moved to a new area and while he settled-in his other main objective was to find gainful employment again having already being through a long service with the Royal Navy and working in the security industry, in short he didn’t know what it was like to be unemployed but a visit to the Job Centre pointed him in the direction of St Mirren Park.
Stephen said, “I was in the Royal Navy for 24 years after which I came back up here from England in 1999 when I got a job working in security at the Hilton then I worked in the Glasgow and Community Safety Services driving a camera van.
“I moved to Ferguslie Park in October last year and with me originally coming from Clydebank I didn’t know anybody other than my daughter who lives in Linwood. By that time I was unemployed for the first time in 40 years but when I signed on at the Job Centre my Job Adviser told me about the St Mirren FC Work Club.”
This was all new to Stephen and while he was initially apprehensive he quickly felt at ease once he made the plunge to attend.
He said, “I made an appointment for the Work Club and came along to a session at St Mirren Park where I met Kate Flood and Brian Sproul who run the programme. They helped me to do a CV and also helped me find my way around a computer as I knew very little about the use of a computer and the internet; Kate and Brian really helped me a lot.
“Searching for work on the computer helped a lot and you would be amazed at the amount of people who don’t have access to a computer so to come into a situation where there is one computer for every person in the Work Club was really good.”
As it was that search proved successful for Stephen as he found himself a job.
He explained, “I was at the Work Club every Thursday for six weeks or so where I put together a CV, learned interview skills and job search skills including on the internet. There’s a good mix at the Work Club – young, old, male and female – and it was often pretty busy so it is great credit to Kate and Brian that they managed to do so much one-to-one training with the folk at the Club looking for a job.
“I filled in a number of job application forms one of which brought success as I have been offered a job by Service Air who are based at Glasgow Airport.”
Stephen admits that he knew nothing about the St Mirren FC Work Club before going to sign-on last October but he hopes that the word spreads quickly as he believes it is a great asset for anyone out there who is keen to get back into employment.
He said, “I hope more people become aware that a good facility like this is here for their benefit where they will get all the help they need to try and find a job. Initially it can be a bit scary coming in by yourself but I found that you were quickly put at ease and the support you get there is great.”
St Mirren Community Coach, Brian Sproul runs the programme along with Kate Flood from Job Centre Plus and both are delighted that Stephen is the most recent success of the Work Club.
Brian said, “The St Mirren FC Work Club was driven by myself and General Manager, Brian Caldwell. Stephen was one of the first people to come in and use the Work Club when it opened its doors for the first time last November.
“He was a bit low as he had worked all his adult life and was struggling to find any help or support in finding employment. Through the Work Club both Kate and myself gave him that support he lacked and helped him pick up the necessary skills to give himself a better chance in the job market.
“Over the first few weeks here Stephen was still a bit apprehensive but as time went on he became more confident and started to apply for jobs. He kept working away at it and finally secured himself a job, both Kate and myself are absolutely delighted for Stephen.”
Kate is happy with the success of the Work Club to date as Stephen is the eighth client to go on and find employment since it opened.
She said, “The programme has been running since the end of November and was closed over Christmas and early January but in that time we have had eight positive outcomes of clients moving from unemployment into work since they started using the Work Club.
“In the time that we have been working on the programme we feel that is a good return but we hope that the St Mirren FC Work Club will steer many more people towards full employment as we continue with the programme.”
The St Mirren FC Work Club is based in the IT Suite at St Mirren Park two mornings a week and is supported by Job Centre Plus. Kate Flood from Job Centre Plus assists Brian with the sessions which are held on Tuesday’s from 10:00am to noon and Thursday’s 9:30am to 11:30am.
Please note that attendance to the St Mirren FC Work Club is by appointment only. Referrals and bookings are done through Kate Flood who is based at Paisley Job Centre. You can contact Kate on (0141) 800 2092.