Rhondda Valley man Gavin Bessant shows how a Work and Health Programme is changing lives in Wales
Gavin Bessant, from Tonypandy, Rhondda Valley, experienced low confidence and poor self-esteem. He has Spina Bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly, and had been unable to find suitable work since leaving school over 25 years ago. Despite having lots of friends and family, they all worked and being the one who didn’t work affected him negatively.
Gavin, 40, was on ESA prior to his referral to the Work and Health Programme Wales, delivered by Remploy. He had never been in paid employment, but had volunteered for Too Good to Waste, a local re-use charity. This was an experience he enjoyed, during wich he discovered that he was good at customer facing roles. Gavin explains:
“Because of my disability, I’ve always found it hard to find the right type of job. People would judge me as I look fine on the outside but they never saw me on the bad days when I would struggle to get out of bed.”
Remploy Employment Advisor Matt supported Gavin with in-house development sessions which included developing a CV, interview techniques, mock interviews, interview clothing and travel costs.
Gavin’s confidence increased, and he felt able to apply independently for a role as a delivery driver at Domino’s. He was delighted to be offered the job.
However, not long after commencing work, Gavin was forced to take six months off following a brain operation. He experienced additional anxiety as he feared that he would lose his job, and received further support from Matt at this time to help maintain his mental health.
Once he had recovered, Gavin resumed his job at Domino’s, and continues to be happy in his role.
“Everything has changed for me. I’m independent and earning my own money. Remploy were with me every step of the way providing advice, guidance and moral support. I’m so grateful.”
Employment Advisor Matt said; “I’ve never met anyone so determined to work as Gavin – he is unstoppable.”