Liam Plews, 22, from Spennymoor, County Durham, ignored his mum when she told him to do something with his life. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t tried! As he slumped in the chair he was full of despair. No matter how hard he tried, nobody would give him a job.
When he left school at 16, he didn’t slack. In fact, he went to college and studied bricklaying for two years, before taking on a range of construction courses. But, he could never find long-term work.
“I lost my confidence. I’d done lots of courses and I had interviews, but they never called me back. I hated it, it was horrible. All my life I’d had friends who worked and friends who were on the dole and I knew which ones I wanted to be like – the ones with jobs and money to spend.”
Liam’s family was supportive and he admits he never struggled for conversation at school. But, when it came to interviews he didn’t know what questions to expect. He just guessed his way through the answers.
“In formal situations, I was very shy and didn’t speak up. At interviews I’d say things off the top of my head without any preparation. I just didn’t like putting myself out there.”
Despite all these obstacles, Liam never gave up.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Liam was put in touch with The Prince’s Trust Get into Construction course by staff at Groundworks, a local organisation that helps young people find training.
The employability course helped Liam develop his skills in his specialist sector – including preparing his CV and improving his interview techniques.
“I’d done my share of courses. I thought ‘this is another waste of time, just like all the others’, but when I got there they took me seriously. It was so different.
“The staff were great and made me think about how to present myself in the best way and sell my skills. I enjoyed being part of a team of people – it felt like we’d known each other all our lives. We practiced for interviews as if it was the real thing, which boosted my confidence. I had to think about the sort of questions I’d be asked and how to best answer.
Liam’s passion for his job has seen him be promoted from the production line to a Material Handler within a matter of months – helping him get even closer to achieving his goals.
“Now I have a job with real prospects and my mum never has to tell me to stop sitting round. I earn a good wage and it’s a nice feeling to be able to buy things for my mum if she mentions she needs something, or for my little sister.
“It’s great to have confidence too. It makes me want to increase my skills and get on. I’ve become a different person thanks to the Get into course!”