Box clever John wants to get back into workplace
ELECTRONICS whiz John Heslop knows his way around the insides of a TV set but is having no luck on the jobs circuit.
The qualified television engineer can fix most household electric items but has been unemployed for nearly two years.
Despite gaining City and Guilds qualifications in 1979 and 1982, and working for 20 years mending televisions, he found himself unemployed in 1999 when appliances became so cheap people just replaced them rather than calling the repairman.
John, who has autism, then worked at the Pluss factory at Burrington Way, engaged on their project to help make luxury beds for Plymouth firm Vi-Spring.
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But he lost his production worker job when he was made redundant in January last year and has found nothing since.
John, aged 50, is determined to get back into employment, however, and is the latest recruit to The Herald's Get Hired campaign.
"I've had a small number of interviews but haven't been able to get back into work," said John, who lives in Stonehouse. "I've been interviewed for a job as a warehouse operative and for a kitchen porter, which was part-time, for instance.
"I'm looking for any blue-collar jobs I'm capable off. That could be anything from street-cleaning to factory work, skilled or semi-skilled."
John stressed that despite suffering from autism he is in good physical shape and, with his previous experience, is highly employable.
But he's found jobs hard to find.
"I do things like look on the Jobcentre website," he said. "Or I go out and cold call, in a tactful manner. I remind potential employers I'm around and ready for work."
However, John admits he has limitations, for instance he feels he would need to update his skills for some posts, such as working with computers.
"I may need some catching up training," he said.
To help find a job John has been receiving assistance, such as mentoring, at employment organisation Working Links, based in Mayflower Street.
"I don't want to be signing on for the rest of my life," he said. "And I don't want to be looking for a job I'll never get.
"I'd like a full-time job, that would get me independent from social security."
The Herald is looking for job-seekers to become part of our Get Hired campaign. Could that person be you? If you would like to be featured please contact William Telford, business editor, on 01752 765529 or email firstname.lastname@example.org