Former homeless dad Robert now in work after turning his life around
Robert from Runcorn is one of more than 50 people who have secured work with Mersey Gateway toll operator merseyflow after attending a pioneering return-to-work course. Tony McDonough reports
Not so long ago father-of-four Robert Probert found himself homeless and out of work following the breakdown of a relationship. He was at rock bottom.
Today, Robert from Runcorn is one of more than 50 people who have secured work with Mersey Gateway toll operator merseyflow after attending a pioneering return-to-work course.
Robert, 33, had been living at the Lighthouse Foundation in Runcorn for seven months and was volunteering at his local church when he spotted a poster for the Halton Enterprise Partnership (HEP) advertising the course.
“I saw the poster and I thought it sounded like a really good opportunity to start somewhere brand new,” he said.
He signed up to Halton’s People into Jobs programme. This allowed him to enrol on a six-week return to work course that provided him with a guaranteed interview with merseyflow. After receiving training and interview practice from HEP he secured a job in the merseyflow call centre.
Robert’s prospects now look a lot brighter and he now plans to begin studying to be a pastoral care counsellor so he can help others. And he is encouraging others who might be considering a job with merseyflow to contact them.
“I’m so grateful to merseyflow for giving me this opportunity and the flexibility they’ve shown me,” he said. “After I got the job I was able to get myself back on my feet. The team I work with is great. We get the job done but have fun at the same time.”
Following the success of the Halton Enterprise Partnership scheme merseyflow now employs 180 people, with 95% of its employees living in Halton.
With some, like Robert, able to secure jobs with merseyflow as a pathway back into employment following a period out of work.
Through the partnership’s Ways to Work programme, merseyflow offers people a chance to get back into the workforce and the HEP team provides them with interview skills and advice on preparing and submitting a CV.
They also complete a six-week customer service course and are provided with maths, English and computer skills. Merseyflow has hired more than 50 people who have completed the course.
Beatriz Fuentes, HR Manager at merseyflow’s parent company, emovis, added: “It’s the early stages of the project and we still have a long way to go to implement everything we want for our team members, but already we’re seeing lots of success stories like Robert.”