A Livingston man, who has battled for decades with a painful foot condition, has turned his life around with help from Remploy and Marks and Spencer.
Jim Brown, aged 45, has secured full-time permanent employment with Marks and Spencer as a Sales Assistant in the M&S Livingston designer outlet. Jim has Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome in both of his ankles, a painful condition which started to have an impact on Jim when he worked for the Royal Mail, and as a result, he was medically retired after almost 20 years of service.
He says it was at that point, that his “world crashed. I had no income and a young family. My older two children were 13 and 10, and our youngest was just a few months old. I had bills to pay and found myself in a very dark place; I felt like a failure.”
Jim was out of work for a year. He underwent intense physiotherapy to help his condition and then got a job with a local care home. Jim persevered and worked in the nursing home for almost nine years. However, his condition worsened and in May 2014, he found he could no longer continue in his role.
Jim said: “Those old feelings of failure came flooding back. Where did I go from here? The future for me was once again very uncertain.” Jim then moved to live in Livingston, where he was referred to Remploy through the Job Centre. He added: “I was feeling very dejected but Remploy helped me to see that I had a whole range of transferable skills. I actually started to consider that I had a future and that I was not alone.”
M&S works in partnership with Remploy to deliver its Marks & Start programme which provides support for people who face barriers into work or people who struggle to find employment. Marks & Start participants like Jim, receive two days of training before starting a work placement at an M&S store. With newfound confidence, Jim was keen to make the most of his placement.
Susan Allen, Jim’s employment advisor at Remploy, said: “Jim has done so well with M&S. He has become an integral member of the team and has also been nominated by his peers for a ‘Spotlight’ award for excellent customer service. “I am amazingly proud of Jim as he has battled through the adversity and shown resilience and a will to do well which has led him to where he is today.”
Mark McCafferty, Store Manager at M&S Livingston, said: “We have a really positive relationship with Remploy. Jim has shown great drive and commitment and we are thrilled to have access to such a fantastic pool of talented people through Remploy's direct hire recruitment service and our Marks & Start programme.”
Picture caption: Jim Brown working in the M&S Livingston store
Notes to Editors:
- Remploy was established 70 years ago to provide training and employment after the Second World War for injured and disabled ex-servicemen and miners.
- Since 2010, Remploy has found more than 100,000 jobs in mainstream employment for people with a range of physical, sensory and learning disabilities, mental health conditions and other disadvantages.
- Remploy works with more than 2,500 employer partners including Marks & Spencer, TC Facilities Management, BT, Mitie, ASDA, Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s and the NHS.
- Remploy operates a free Workplace Mental Health Support Service to help maintain in employment people with stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.
- It invests in developing innovative services for employers which are cost effective and business efficient including consultancy and a vocational rehabilitation service.
- In March 2015, Remploy entered into a joint venture with MAXIMUS, a leading operator of government health and human services programmes in the United States, UK, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia and on 7 April 2015 Remploy left government ownership in the joint venture in which Remploy employees have a 30 per cent stake.