Steven Jones, 28 from Bangor, has worked full time for the past nine years however due to a series of events in the past few months he is now out of work and planning a career change.

Steven injured his back in work and had spinal surgery to rectify the problem in February. He had planned to take few months off work to recover from the surgery, however when his daughter was born in May she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis which meant the family had to be particularly vigilant about the coronavirus and shield themselves. This meant that Steven couldn’t go back to his job in healthcare due to the high risk.

He has found being out of work challenging.

“It has been absolutely horrendous not working, I’ve worked full time for the past nine years and to go from that to not working has been so difficult on my mental health.

“We’ve been trying to get into a good routine, going for walks and trying to find things to do to stop us staring at the four walls.”

Steven has decided to use the situation as an opportunity to change careers. His partner is a hairdresser and he is going to train to become a hairdresser as well with the aim of opening a family business in the future.

Studying doesn’t come naturally to Steven; he had previously been supported by The Prince’s Trust and when he saw they were offering support to young people during the Covid 19 pandemic he decided to get in touch again.

“I’ve now signed up to go to college to study hairdressing in September. I’ve tried studying a few times, I find it difficult, but I am able to do it when I use a computer. I saw the Prince’s Trust had a limited number of laptops available for people who needed them to get back into work or training and was fortunate to qualify for one.

“This is the second time The Prince’s Trust have supported me. I first got in touch with them about nine years ago when I did Team, a 12-week personal development programme. I had no confidence, was socially awkward and just sat at home on the computer all day, but by the time I finished Team I was a different person.

“The confidence Prince’s Trust has given me has been great. Just knowing there is a charity out there that is willing to help young people. I was stuck in the house, going through depression, I didn’t want to be out and didn’t want to socialise, I’ve just gone the complete opposite direction. I never saw myself having the aspirations I have now.”