Wayne's story

Wayne's life was turned upside down by a major injury 

Wayne Straw, from Belper, had a steady job as a plumber but a freak accident with an angle grinder changed his life and sent him into a spiral of mental illness, unemployment and homelessness.

Wayne said: “I feel like I’ve wasted ten years of my life. I had a good job but the accident meant that I couldn't work.

“I was working with a nine inch diamond blade angle grinder in a confined space. Just as I was cutting the last bit of pipe on a job I was doing the blade grabbed and it went through my arm.”

“I was living in a tent”

Unable to continue his plumbing work, things went from bad to worse for Wayne.

“I was living in a van, then a tent. What I’ve done to my body in the last ten years is just; I dread to think.”

Describing himself as someone who gets bored after three minutes of inactivity, Wayne decided to re-train as an electrician, but having qualified saw his options limited.

Wayne said: “I was doing nothing, I was in that vicious cycle. I’d finished college and qualified as a sparky but I couldn’t find a job because they want experience. How do you get experience when no-one gives you a chance? It’s really difficult.”

Taking a chance

After getting in touch with Futures about something entirely different, Wayne was introduced to our employment advice service and the team offered him the chance to gain some much needed experience.

“I was talking to a neighbourhoods officer from Futures and I told her what I was doing and they said they might be able to get me in and get some work experience.”

That experience counted for a lot when he applied for a vacancy with Futures, helping him to land a full-time, permanent job on the repairs team.

Wayne said: “Wayne said: “The hands-on experience really helped me. I was working with two amazing guys who taught me a lot. The knowledge they have and have passed on to me is brilliant.

“Everyone has been incredibly welcoming, helpful and supportive. I am immensely proud to be a part of the organisation. Who knew that your landlord could provide so much support?”

Our employment advice team has worked with around 100 people since 2016 and offers a range of services to help people in our communities improve their quality of life. Whether it’s training, life skills, volunteering, work experience or playing a more active role in society, we can help.

For more information, visit our employment advice page.

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