William, a refugee from Sudan, came to the UK in 2015 with his wife and two sons through the Home Office’s Gateway Protection Programme, which resettles refugees in the UK.
He was struggling to adapt to living in the UK and had been unable to find employment, before he joined the Connecting Opportunities project. With the support and training offered by the project, he has been able to get a job as a cleaner at a local railway station.
Before this support, William found the process of applying for jobs challenging, often travelling on foot to ten different companies a week. He said: “I applied for 45 jobs to be a cleaner, but never heard anything.”
Things started to look up when he was referred to Connecting Opportunities at Horton Housing Association in Bradford. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with money raised by the National Lottery, and the European Social Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme.
Through the programme, William was able to go to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and receive support with employment, training and education. This has included help with job applications and life skills. He has also accessed an Open University ICT course.
As a result, William has secured his new job as a train station cleaner. “I am now healthier and happier and I am thinking of the future,” he said.
Jayne Walker, William’s Key Worker for Connecting Opportunities at Horton, said: “I have seen William improve so much since he came to us. I visited him at work and he looked so happy and content. All the staff at the company could not praise him enough. He is very grateful for the support he receives and thanks everyone for taking his problems away.”