“I lost my three jobs, in a bar, restaurant and hotel, in the space of three weeks. It made me feel down, you don’t know what to expect from the future when you work in a sector which totally shuts.

“I knew that I would have to make a change in my life at this point. I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare, where I give a service to someone. A challenge is always a good thing, and I wanted a job with a learning curve.

“I found out about the Northern Care Alliance (NCA) Hospital Services Kickstart role through the job centre. Part of the 6-month Kickstart placement was a two-week employability skills course with The Prince’s Trust called Get Into Health and Social Care – Pre Kickstart NCA.

Everyone really came out of their shell because of The Prince’s Trust. It was helpful for me to learn about values at work, and I also learnt how to develop new skills and how to adapt to other people in my new role.

“The Prince’s Trust helped me to realise what skills I had and feel more confident in them – I never knew before I could deal with blood, urine and other specimens! Realising this has really helped me; I already was a confident person, but confident people have weaknesses too, and this course helped me tackle them.”

Conner is working hard in his 6-month placement as a Pathology Bio Lab Receptionist at NCA.

“In pathology every day is a different day, so you don’t get bored. I’m learning lots of interesting things and new skills on the job. It’s also great to have my hours reliably in every week and I’ve even increased my working hours to 36 from the contracted 25.”

Conner has applied to stay on in the lab after the Kickstart placement, and is also considering a career as a paramedic.