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Alex back on the payroll after 'whirlwind' support

A Rhyl man says his career is back on track after ‘whirlwind’ help from a group of employment specialists.
Alex Bowen, 31, had been unemployed for seven years after falling ill and was struggling to find his way back into work until help from a government scheme.
His luck turned after support from the UK government’s Work Choice scheme, delivered by Working Links in Wales. Work Choice, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, helps people with disabilities or health problems on their journey back into work.
Alex said: “Everything was going well. I completed a degree in business management and a teaching qualification but then the financial crash happened, and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
“I had been working in research at the time, but I was signed off and couldn’t work. Being out of work was very frustrating. I felt very insecure. Though I tried to keep doing bits of volunteering to keep my hand in.”
When ready to return to work, Alex was referred to Working Links by Jobcentre Plus and was paired with personal consultant Clair Houlihan. Clair worked with Alex to help him understand how much better off he would be in work, and help him claim a significant amount in benefits that should have been owed to him.
Alex added: “Clair was brilliant. She gave me the confidence I needed and was always there to give me support. She showed me the skills I have that would be able to offer employers.
“She helped me realise that I should have been getting more in benefits over the last three years, so I ended up with it being backdated and using the money to buy a car. I thought the car would increase my chances of finding a job, but in the end I found a job so close to home I didn’t actually need a car to get there. After three weeks of finding out about my benefits, I had found a job. It was a whirlwind.”
Alex is now working as a Digital Inclusion Coordinator, helping people get online. He said: “It’s great to be back in work. I really enjoy helping people so this is a fantastic job for me. I’m hoping to slowly build up my hours to full-time and build a career.”
Clair said: “I am delighted for Alex’s recent success in gaining employment. From meeting Alex when he first joined programme, he came in despondent and lacked confidence in his ability in returning to work. 
“With regular support, Alex started believing in himself and gained the confidence to be more proactive and take responsibility of his own circumstances.”
To find out more about Working Links, please contact us  or call 0800 917 9262.

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