World Champion James praises Remploy’s support
Twenty seven year old James Ball from Newport couldn’t have imagined how much his life would change in less than a year. It was while receiving support from Remploy, to help him find his first job, that he received the call to say he’d made the British Cycling squad for the Paralympics.
James now competes on the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) cycling team and already has seven medals under his belt - including several World Championship golds!
At the time of the call from British Cycling to recruit him to the team, he was receiving support from the Newport branch of Remploy to find a job to help fund his training.
He said: “I’ve been into sport all my life, swimming since I was nine years old and then moving into athletics, however I realised that if I wanted to continue I needed to get a job to fund my training. I had no idea what work skills I really had or the jobs out there but Julie, my Employment advisor, was a great support.
“We both thought that a role in leisure would be fitting and the profiling we completed also suggested this route, which was pleasing.”
James was put forward for a work placement opportunity to gain some work experience for his CV but the night before he was due to start his placement he received the call from British Cycling to say he’d made the squad.
“You couldn’t make it up really! I’ve never been a cyclist so they must have seen real potential in me and I was so happy to get the opportunity to join them.”
He continued: “Remploy were brilliant - extremely friendly and supportive, even though I am not easy to please as I am pretty determined and aspirational. I was ready to work my way up to help fund my training, as I was having to travel to Loughborough to work with my coach every weekend.”
James now lives in Manchester, where he trains at the National Cycling Centre. He said: “My life has completely changed, however Remploy equipped me with some important life-skills that I’m really thankful for, such as time management. They also helped me create my CV as I had never had one before - I’ve got a few nice highlights to add to it now though!”
Julie Pedder, James’ Employment advisor said: “With James it was a challenge trying to find a job with shifts to fit around his training schedule. He was really motivated to get a job but became a bit despondent when they didn’t fit his lifestyle and he couldn’t apply for them. I always had to remain positive and think outside the box!”
After visits to Dubai, Singapore, New Zealand and the Rio Paralympics with the Great Britain Cycling team, globe-trotting has become second nature to James. For the moment though he is putting all his efforts into training at home for the next World Championships, and working towards Tokyo 2020.
Julie added: “I remain in contact with James, keeping an eye on his progress and sending him messages of congratulations. He knows the whole Newport team are rooting for him!”