Alan on a mission to use his personal experience to help others

Alan Morgan is so grateful for the “wonderful” support he received when he was homeless, unemployed and suffering from depression that he is now seeking to help people who are experiencing the same challenges.

Thanks to the Restart Scheme, the Welsh Government’s employability programme, 55-year-old Alan came into contact with training provider Itec in Swansea who helped him regain his motivation, confidence and sense of direction.

Currently working on a 16 week placement as a receptionist at the YMCA in Swansea, Alan has applied for a job as an assistant support worker at a hostel.

“Having been homeless myself and seen how it can happen, I have an insight into how people may be feeling and I want to give something back,” said Alan, who now has a flat in Uplands, Swansea.

“Everyone has a different situation but I want to do something to help people who are in a similar situation to where I was. I like chatting to people and giving them advice.”

Well educated, Alan left school with 11 O-Levels and two A-Levels and worked at an agricultural merchant and in retail administration roles before spending seven years as a packer with Amazon.

He now believes he began suffering with depression five years ago but did not seek help, leading to his life spiralling out of control. He lost all motivation and became isolated to such an extent that he would not answer his mobile phone.

Itec has helped Alan to regain his confidence on the Restart Scheme. To recognise his true potential by identifying and achieving personal goals and also receiving mental health support and debt advice.

He has also attended courses on confidence building, customer service and understanding young carers. In the past, he avoided people-facing roles, but now loves his job on reception so much that he has offered to carry on volunteering, when his YMCA placement ends, until he finds a job.

“My life is far better now than it has been for the last 20 years,” added Alan. “I have a wonderful flat and neighbours.

“Debbie Jones and everyone at Itec and the Job Centre were lovely and supportive. Updating my CV and being helped to recognise the skills I have was a great help. I always went away from our meeting uplifted.”

Highly recommending the support provided by the Restart Scheme, Alan advised other people, who may now be experiencing the same challenges as he did, to “admit your problems and seek help”.

Debbie Jones, an employment adviser with Itec, is delighted that everything is working out for Alan. “He has somewhere to live, a job and is a completely different to the person I first met who was extremely depressed and very anxious,” she said.

“I always use Alan as an example of someone who didn’t give up. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. He is now helping other people who are homeless and have mental health issues.”

The Restart Scheme provides enhanced support to get long-term unemployed people, who claim Universal Credit, back into work by breaking down employment barriers.