College course 'changed my life' says long-term unemployed man

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By YouPR | Tuesday, December 03, 2013, 15:34

A Weston-super-Mare man who was on sickness benefit for more than a decade has had his life changed following a Weston College course.

Peter Misson, 50, of Locking Road, was reluctant to come on the Changes course - aimed at those making the transition from Incapacity Benefit and Employment Support Allowance - because he suffers from dyslexia and hasn't worked for a long time.

But after completing the course at the College's Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) in Locking Road, Peter has now gone on to a higher course and hopes either to enter employment or full-time education.

"I didn't want to come on the course at all," he said, "because I felt I wasn't good around people and found it hard to engage. But after just two weeks I found my attitude had changed tremendously. I always thought I'd struggle in groups, but the others on the course, and the staff, were fantastic to be with."

Peter, a former warehouse manager, said the Weston College staff had been 'very understanding', which had given him the confidence to think he could break out of the benefits cycle.

"They helped me to realise that I was capable of being around people and actually enjoy that," he said. "I've now got my CV up together, plus a covering letter, and I'm thinking about a much brighter future."

Changes is a four week course focusing on several areas including IT, Healthy Eating, Employability Skills and Volunteering. The course culminates with an event the participants organise themselves.

Peter has now gone on to the College's Aspire course, which teaches employability skills. "Weston College has changed my life," he said. "I feel much more confident and I've really surprised myself."

Laura Leadbetter, Peter's Trainer Assessor on the Changes course, said his story was just one of a number of similar transformational stories resulting from the course.

"Some of the learners have been off work a long time, and have suffered from various illnesses which have kept them away from work. However, there has been a tremendous amount of positivity around Changes and because we treat people as individuals we find we get excellent results, as with Peter. He enjoyed the course so much he asked if he could do it again!

"We wish him all the best of luck for his future."

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