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James’ story – ‘every cloud has a silver lining’

Positive People Self employment 05 July 2021

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people were affected in different ways and faced unexpected challenges.

For some, this meant their income disappeared almost overnight, either through redundancy or being unable to do their jobs due to newly introduced restrictions. Sometimes, those unexpected adverse circumstances, comes the opportunity to take steps to make improvements, so they are in a stronger position than they were before. That is what happened to James.

For the last 13 years James, aged 34, has been a selfemployed painter and decorator, working in domestic properties across Somerset. When the country went into lockdown he was no longer able to carry out his work. Within a few weeks he found himself with no choice but to sign on as unemployed. The job centre referred him to Pluss Positive People partner, Inspired to Achieve, for re-training and employment support.

James is a father of two children and being self-employed gave him a degree of flexibility that suited his family’s needs. He was keen to continue working in a self-employed capacity.

Reflecting on that time, James said: “Having your client-base just disappear practically overnight was a huge challenge for me and it created significant anxiety.”

James was unable to work inside people’s homes and he lacked the qualifications and the necessary safety licence to work on construction sites. As a result, his mental health suffered with worries around income and being isolated from his family.

Thankfully the Positive People programme gave me a new lease of life. My change coach helped me to focus on the steps I needed to take to become an accredited tradesman. I’m so grateful for the funding to complete my level two in painting and decorating, to complete my blue CSCS trade card.

This qualification enabled James to work in the construction trade and opened new opportunities that were previously not accessible to him.

James spoke with his coach regularly to discuss progress and to receive support in searching for employment opportunities.

James concluded: “I would recommend the Positive People programme to anyone who is in a similar position. I’m more confident and a lot less stressed now and I’ve ended up with another string to my bow.”

James is now working as a self-employed painter and decorator on construction sites. With good contacts, James works across several sites, and has a busy schedule of future work in the book. The future is very much looking up for James and we all wish him the very best.