When Drew Harding, who has autism, first started seeking work, he was perhaps too enthusiastic.
Dressed in a sharp suit, the 24-year-old would head to north-east firms and hand out dozens of CVs but without luck.
Then the ambitious Drew got a helping hand from Aberdeen JobCentre and, after getting the right training, he showed true dedication to land a job at Marks & Spencer.
Drew thanked JobCentre staff and the Momentum Skills charity for helping him clinch the role. “They have both been a big help. It was frustrating going so long without getting a permanent job so to reach that point is really good,” he said.
After leaving school, Drew became an Instant Neighbour volunteer, a charity that provides emergency food parcels for people in need. He helped with furniture sales and deliveries and volunteered in Instant Neighbour’s Union Square shop.
Determined to get a full-time role, Drew unsuccessfully handed out CVs to traders, before turning to Aberdeen JobCentre for help.
He said: “They assigned me a work coach who recommended I go to Momentum Skills.”
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Drew was then enrolled onto the Fair Start Scotland programme, which gives people pointers on how to look for jobs.
He said: “I did go for a few interviews and I did some training, including spending some time training in a cafe.
“A psychologist helped me learn about being a team player, socialising and being around people. Momentum was a big help. I just kept on committing myself to it and thinking ‘if I keep at it, I will hopefully end up in a job’.”
After applying as a shop floor worker at Marks & Spencer in Inverurie, Drew landed the position in May.
He works three days a week and hopes it will become five.
He said: “There was a trial period which included a training course. We had to do shelf-stacking, sell food in the cafe and make sure customers were happy.
“I was very pleased to have been given the job. My mum is proud of what I have achieved.”
Aberdeen JobCentre disability employment adviser leader Alan Macdonald, said: “We’re thrilled Drew has moved into work and is enjoying his time at Marks & Spencer.
“Our role is to help people who come to us get the support they need, whether it relates to benefit applications, training, education or employment.”