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Joseph back in work and back on track

North Ayrshire man, Joseph Smyth, 46, had to prematurely end his career as a jobbing joiner due to injury. After falling into debt and the loss of confidence which accompanied his personal issues, Joseph decided the Fair Start Scotland service was for him.

Why Joseph joined the Fair Start Scotland service

Wear and tear on Joseph’s knees after years of joinery work left him unable to continue on this career path. He fell out of work and his life spiralled from there. Joseph’s relationship broke down and living alone left him in debt, he accrued arrears of rent and it all took a toll on his mental health.

Joseph wanted to get back into work so that he could overcome his issues and start building his confidence back up. He identified that bench joinery would suit him as it’s less physically demanding but he needed considerable to support to help overcome his barriers.  

How Fair Start Scotland helped

We teamed Joseph up with experienced Key Worker, Betty Mair, who took the time to get to know the man, understand his issues and start building a package of support to suit his needs.

First, Betty set about helping Joseph with his debt as this was something he was clearly very anxious about. She referred him to Better Off Ayrshire, an organisation we work with regularly, and they worked with Joseph to establish an affordable repayment plan.

With that load off his mind it was time to start working towards employment. Betty supported Joseph to compile a professional looking CV, tailored towards bench joinery. Together, they spent hours looking for advertised bench joinery vacancies in the North Ayrshire area but no luck. It was time to get more proactive so the two of them compiled a list of local carpenters and bench joiners and started making speculative phone calls. Still no luck in North Ayrshire so they widened the search to include South Ayrshire. Betty continued to make calls on Joseph’s behalf and an interested employer was soon identified.

Getting the job

Joseph was invited to interview which gave him a massive confidence boost. Knowing that he had a chance boded well for the future. He attended, impressed and was offered the job on the spot.

Joseph’s started work, he’s continuing to pay off his debt, stay off benefits and his mental health is on the up.

Joseph said: “I could not have managed to find work on my own as I simply wouldn’t have thought or had the confidence to approach employers speculatively. I’m better off financially and I’m feeling less anxious."


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