My name is Simon, I am 49

I am much less anxious when I am here and the people really understand the way we are feeling.

Here is my story...

I have come out of myself a bit more and my self-confidence has built up which is good. I came on the course because the thought of bringing up my self-esteem and confidence and plunging me into different surroundings with different people sounded good. I needed to get out and meet more people as I was very much alone having moved from Lymington to Southampton two years ago. I moved because I thought there would be more job possibilities and better public transport here.

I have been a chef for 25 years but my health went down and I had a nervous breakdown. The work hours, drinking, split shifts early mornings or late nights were hard on me. I was doing A la Carte cooking from fresh steaks to lobster, working in hotels and doing agency work travelling from Bodmin Moor to London. I loved cooking and I still like it but my nerves can’t take the shouting and the pace and the calling out of the orders and what can be quite an aggressive culture. In one restaurant, the head chef was just like Gordon Ramsay shouting at everyone.

I have looked at warehouse, retail and care work. I am hoping to get a paid work placement at B & Q as I like DIY, painting, decorating and using power tools and feel like I can talk to customers about what they are doing as well as sell to them.

The fact that I can come in here and talk with people again is good. I was very anxious when I first turned up on the first day but when I sat down and met the rest of the group and got to know everyone, I felt calm and we all get on well.
I am applying for jobs at the moment and doing my job search most days at the library. I haven’t got it right to find that job yet but I’m sure I will get there, maybe not this week but maybe next.

October 2016