0.00.02 My name’s John S. I’m an employment advisor and I work for a company called BITA Pathways which is a mental health charity in Birmingham. I work with people who are recovering from mental ill health and have been interested in working, they work actually in the workshop at work doing menial jobs. And my role is to then prepare them for work in the real world and get them interested in particularly in training and so forth, to advance themselves so they’re able to work.
00.00.37 As a young boy, as a 13 year old, I worked for the local butcher riding the bike around and delivering orders with the basket on the front of the bike and that sort of thing. And it was I suppose a little laziness on my part when I was 16 that I just wanted to move onwards in that particular trade. I was particularly interested at the time although I didn’t recognise it, in customer service and dealing with people and that was my main motivation I think, was the people thing, the talking to ordinary people and mixing with people and enjoying different people’s company and ideas and so forth.
00.01.11 My father was in the building trade and was never ever ambitious. Never saw any moving forward as part of his life but he, I guess, sort of wanted to live his life through me and through my advancement. He wanted me to join him in the building business but I’m the more technical perhaps, architectural, all that sort of thing. And I rebelled about this and stayed in the meat trade because I thought that I’m not going to do what he wants me to do. I want to do what I want to do. So that was my motivation.
00.01.45 Apparently, and I can only believe what the medical men said, it was because I smoked and it caused a problem with the blood circulation. So I lost my left leg in 1973/4 something like that, and about 10 years later I lost my right leg as well. So by the time I was 30 odd or approaching 40, I was in real in trouble then. Nevertheless, that again provided opportunities which I hadn’t seen before.
00.02.17 I knew nothing about computers and thought I better learn about computers because this is growing thing, the way the country’s going. And I was really, really impressed at my student colleagues who would not normally achieve under the academic system in this country were really achieving, doing NVQs. So I decided to get involved in NVQs. I then got involved in training and development and became an NVQ assessor and internal and external verifying working for awarding bodies.
00.02.49 That then sort of spun off because of the amounts of advice that you were giving to learners into advice and guidance. And it was the advice and guidance that got me involved in the mental health service. For some time I did working for the same company I’m working for now, I was paid Employment Services to work in Job Centres once a week advising people who were long time unemployed. And I always remember, I had a young woman in her early 20s and she wanted to be a midwife.
00.03.22 She hadn’t got the proper qualifications. She was really despairing that she couldn’t move forward and we found a way for her to move forward and now, she’s a trainee midwife. And she’s my real big achievement she is. I was born in inner city area of Birmingham just after the Second World War. We lived in a slum with gas lights and no electricity, no bathroom, this sort of thing. And it was, I guess my main impetus has been to see the way the country’s development since the Second World War and we’ve moved forward. And I can see the way that people like myself have moved forward and there’s no reason why people now cannot move forward as well so that’s I guess the big impetus.