Mark Bonell – Wolverhampton Returnee 2021

Mark joined our Returneeship programme in late 2021 and has not looked back, from being homeless to now in full time work. He credits the course for helping him mix again and getting back his confidence. An outstanding achievement and we would like to wish Mark all the best in his role with West Midlands Metro. Read Marks full journey below!

What were you doing before you started the programme?
“I wasn’t doing anything. I had been homeless but managed to get a flat, which got me on the right track. I spent about a year looking for work and then the pandemic hit which hampered everything.

How did you find out about the training?
“I sign at Bilston Job Centre and my Work Coach, Rachel signposted me to a member of staff from Release Potential who was in the Job Centre at the time and gave me the information I needed about the course.”

Why did you decide to join?
“I was bored, I had no friends and live on my own, and thought just go and see what happens. You’ve got to try different things. That was my way of thinking.”

What did you think of the training? How did it help you?
“It was so different to anything I’d done before. I learned more about IT, was talking to people, and even presented at the end of the course in front of a group of people who were strangers to me. It was an eye-opener and I enjoyed it.”

Were there any barriers or obstacles you had to overcome?
“It helped me build up my confidence which was at an all-time low. I needed to mix again, and the course helped to get that started. When I walked into the course, I wanted to walk back out again but I’m pleased I didn’t – my confidence boost was the winner.

What are you doing now?
“I’m employed by West Midlands Metro as a Customer Experience Officer, issuing tickets, handling cash and advising customers. I’ve needed to learn some geography as I have to advise passengers on connections and stops en route.
I needed to pass a three-hour assessment, a follow up online assessment and an interview, but I did it, I got the job. I’m now in the fourth week.”

What impact has the training had on your life?
“It’s had a massive impact. The course got me back out and about again. I used to spend days on my own. I’m single and don’t have children so had become used to doing everything on my own. It was luck I met Olivia from West Midlands Metro at the Market Place event Release Potential had organised and one of the jobs they had a vacancy for was right for me. Within ten seconds of talking to her, I knew I wanted the Customer Experience Officer role.”

What are your plans for the future?
“To keep pushing myself with this job and become the best Customer Experience Officer I can be.”

What would you say to someone who was thinking about doing the training but wasn’t sure?
“The encouragement and support from peers and staff is fantastic. Give the course a chance and it might open doors for you like it did for me. It got me a job and I’ve changed my life.”

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