Paul’s right on the road to success thanks to council initiative

Paul Eckersley and his supported employment advisor Gillian Burchall
Paul Eckersley and his supported employment advisor Gillian Burchall

A career in road safety wasn’t what Paul had dreamed of but now it’s much more than a job to him.

Paul Eckersley, aged 30 from Leigh, has epilepsy and a curvature of his spine and has been with Wigan Council’s supported employment service for many years.

“He’s gained in confidence, gained in skills and the team absolutely love him.”

Gillian Burchall

IT was always his choice of career but, after his voluntary work with a local firm had come to an end, Paul was out of work for a short time until an opportunity came up with the council.

Paul said: “I wasn’t too confident about the job initially because it wasn’t in IT but I went along with it and because I did well, and they were impressed, they kept me for longer.

“My favourite thing is working with the team - they are great to work with. It’s given me more confidence because when I came here I was very quiet and I’m a lot more social now.

“In my day to day job I mainly collate information for events and I sometimes go out with schools to promote road safety and help with the yearly events like crucial crew.

“I also work on the independent travel training, helping children go on their own from home to school and help them with road safety. So they can travel independently which will help their future life.”

Paul is now thriving in his new role and from his new social life and his employment advisor Gillian Burchall is over the moon with how far he has come on.

Gillian said: “Paul first came to our service quite a few years back, he’d had an apprenticeship and then been out of work for a short time. After his voluntary IT work we managed to secure him a work trial within the council.

“They were so impressed we secured funding for him for six months and he’s just evolved from there. He’s gained in confidence, gained in skills and the team absolutely love him. He believes in himself a lot more, he had the ability but not the confidence but now he’s got that confidence and he knows the team believes in him.”

The council’s supported employment team works with people who have a disability and help them find work. As well as helping with job applications, they help with interview techniques, work placements and provide support in the workplace.

The team also helped Paul to get a bus pass and apply for disability living allowance.

Employers are being urged to contact the council if they have an opportunity for someone with a disability. The service supports clients in the work place and trains clients until they can work independently.

If your business can offer paid opportunities or work placements for disabled people please contact supempt@wigan.gov.uk