Jon Christie says he was so shy he could not talk to strangers, but last week he was telling his MP how his life had been turned around.
Jon and Carla Mayes, 22, are the first trainees to benefit from a partnership between the charity Papworth Trust Workwise and the IT recycling business Network 2 Supples (N2S). Last Friday David Ruffley, Bury St Edmunds’ MP, met them at N2S in Western Way, where they now work full-time.
Jon was referred to Workwise by the Job Centre and the charity put him on an IT course, building on self-taught computer skills, then N2S gave him work a experience place.
Jon said: “It’s changed my life 100 per cent. I used to be very shy and I wouldn’t have been talking to you a year ago — I couldn’t talk to strangers.”
Carla, who was helped with a business administration course, said: “I definitely wouldn’t have had a job and the confidence I’ve got if it wasn’t for Workwise.”
Mr Ruffley said: “She’s a real live example of someone whose had their life turned around by Workwise.
“This is exactly the sort of thing we want — jobs with real interest that are challenging.
“There are other businesses in the town I think could enter partnerships.”
N2S director Andy Gomersall said small and medium businesses were ideal. “In a large company they would get lost,” he said. “We’re a family business and we know and care about people we employ.”
The partnership began after managing director Jack Gomersall bought a dinghy made at Workwise.
“It’s a two-way thing,” he said. “Ultimately, we get good employees — they’ve both turned out well.
“We also get our corporate clothing done there and support their IT network.”