James joined Bristol Together in 2018, having been recently released after serving a 20-year sentence.
At the age of 40, and having spent all of his adult life in custody with little opportunity to gain any personal development or training, James had found it impossible to get a job when he was released.
When we first met James, he was living in a hostel, unemployed and with little hope for the future.
From the beginning of his employment, James demonstrated a commitment to turn up to work each day on time.
He started by working as a labourer at our contract sites, and then on the Newry Walk, Knowle West new build development.
Within a few months we had sent James on a digger driver training course. Equipped with these skills he became an invaluable worker for the business during the groundworks phase at Newry Walk, and allowed us to save costs by not having to employ a more expensive specialist sub-contractor.
James went on complete a site supervisors training course. With this he was given the task of supervising his own site – a building refurbishment project – which he completed with distinction towards the end of 2019.
Today, James is working at the Staple Hill Road new build site, leading the groundworks phase and mentoring new employees. He undertakes the initial induction programme for new starters on the site.
James is now an experienced and highly marketable construction worker. We have already increased his pay by 25% since he joined, and when he is ready to move on to his next role, he will achieve a significantly higher level of remuneration.
James says “I can’t thank Bristol Together enough. They took me on when I had nothing. They helped me get my own place to live and even gave me a loan to pay for the first year. They’ve trained me and given me opportunities to lead projects.”
*Individuals names have been changed by agreement.