“I needed a job but I struggled with interviews”

When John Fallows was made redundant from his job at a fencing company he knew there was only one place to go.

“At 47, I didn’t think it would be easy to get another job,” says John. “But I knew that if I went to my local UCAN centre, I’d get the support I needed to get back into work.”

John, who lives at Tonge Moor, first visited his local UCAN centre five years ago when he was laid off from his warehouse job. “Back then, I didn’t even know how to switch on a computer. Nowadays you have to be online to apply for jobs. Staff at the centre taught me how to use a laptop so I could search for jobs, use email and write a tailored CV for each job application.”

Because the UCAN centre had helped John find work before, it was the first place he went to when he lost his job again. This time around, he wanted help with his interview technique.

“I’ve always struggled with interviews,” says John. “I tend to seize up and I find it difficult to talk about myself and sell my skills to an employer. But with coaching from staff at the UCAN centre, and some practise, I’ve learned how to handle interviews better.”

Suited for the job

This support came in handy when, just weeks later, John got an interview with online retailer, Amazon, for a job at its new depot in Over Hulton. “I was over the moon, and so were the staff at the centre,” says John. “I was invited down to Bolton at Home’s Working Wardrobe where they fitted me out with a new suit for the interview. I felt like a million dollars when I stepped out of the changing room, wearing my new pinstripe suit. It was much trendier than the old suit I had at home,” he laughs.

Feeling confident, John headed off to the University of Bolton Stadium for his interview. “There were hundreds of people being interviewed that day,” says John. “Before I was called in, I watched a presentation about Amazon’s new depot with its high-tech robots. It made me want the job even more. My enthusiasm must have been obvious because at the end of the interview, they offered me the job!”

Three weeks later John started work as Fulfillment Associate, which involves packing items, loading goods and working in the warehouse. And even though he works full-time, John still finds time to pop into the UCAN centre. “I’ll go in and have a cup of tea with the staff. I’m so grateful for the support they’ve given me,” he says. “And I’m happy to talk to others about my job at Amazon and how I went about applying for it.

“My advice to anyone struggling to find work would be to give your local UCAN centre a try. I remember feeling a bit nervous when I first walked in. I had no computer skills at all. But everyone is so friendly and the staff are all experienced and know how to help you.”

If you have a story to share, please email news@boltonathome.org.uk