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Jim battles through adversity

30 Jan 2017

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A Livingston man, who has battled for decades with a painful foot condition, has turned his life around with help from Remploy and Marks & Spencer (M&S). Forty-five year-old Jim Brown, has secured full-time permanent employment with Marks & Spencer as a Sales Assistant in the M&S Livingston designer outlet.

Remploy helped me realise that it’s not just about finding a job, it’s about finding the right job.”

Jim has Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome in both of his ankles, a painful condition which started to have an impact on him when he worked for the Royal Mail, and as a result, he was medically retired after almost 20 years of service.

Jim says it was at that point, that his “world crashed”. He said: “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, 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.”

Marks & Spencer (M&S) works in partnership with Remploy to deliver its Marks & Start programme. Through the programme, M&S 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.”

Find out more about chronic pain with our A - Z of disabilities.