Eryk is a young person currently living with St Basils in Solihull, after being forced to flee his home. Eryk is Polish and even though he grew up in this country, has no recourse to public funds. With the help of Phil Bradley and the support team in Solihull and Kash Munroe, our Partnerships and Progression officer, he has been assisted by St Basils with interview skills and a grant to cover basic expenses, plus a generous offer from Facilities Management recruitment company Boden Resource, means he has now secured a full time paid role on an ongoing basis.
We caught up with Eryk as well as two of his colleagues, Talent Manager Katie O’Cleary and Marketing Executive Sherrel Solomon, at their swish offices in Marston Green to see how it’s all going.
As soon as I entered the Boden Resource board room and met with Eryk’s smiling colleagues, I knew it was all going well!
Sherrel Solomon said: “Eryk has been here just over 4 weeks now and has really settled in well. He gets involved in all the office banter and our Managing Director really likes him, no complaints at all.”
We asked how Eryk came to work at Boden Resource, Katie said: “We had a need for an Administrator to clean up our database which is an important job as it involves handling confidential information. We thought we’d try St Basils first but we did feel we needed a certain calibre of candidate, so that if there wasn’t anyone suitable we were going to advertise elsewhere. However with Kash’s help we didn’t need to, Eryk’s CV was really fantastic - to be honest, we were really shocked - you don’t expect someone with a Law degree to be homeless”.
Katie added: “We soon realised we could do with him taking on more responsibilities and so we asked him if he’d be willing to do that, and he just replied with ‘absolutely, whatever you need, let me know’. He definitely has the right attitude, seems grateful for the opportunity and he seems to be enjoying the role”.
Eryk said of this opportunity, which is his first job following completing a Law degree at Bristol University: “It’s really fun, all the people are really nice. I wasn’t sure what to expect of my first job, but this is great!”
“The job is an administrative position and doing research to update the database and make sure we’ve got the most up to date contacts for everyone. Boden Resource regularly send out job opportunities and promotional emails to their clients and if the database isn’t correct their clients won’t receive the email, so it is really important I make sure it’s up to date”.
“The opportunity at Boden has given me both analytical skills and helped me with my attention to detail with checking spellings. I definitely feel my confidence has increased over the last few weeks, in the first week I wasn’t confident in speaking to anyone but that’s because I had an image in my head of what ‘work’ would be like, really strict and serious, but then I realised everyone’s really nice and it’s a fairly relaxed office and everyone’s very supportive so I’m much more myself now”.
“Work has made things so much better than how things were before, I have OCD which can get quite bad at times, but now it’s really calmed down as I’ve got something to do and I am able to structure my day. It’s not a focus for me anymore as I’m absorbed in other things.”
“The hardest thing was just getting into the routine. Getting up at 6am everyday and putting on a suit. It’s not what I’m used to. The hardest thing was changing my life basically!”
“Working here has been great – I’d recommend it to anyone. I’m really thankful to Phil Bradley my support worker for all the help he’s given me and for referring me to Kash, and I want to thank Kash as well for getting me this opportunity”.
“If I wasn’t here I’d be asleep, yes just sleeping through my days. It sounds chilled but actually this is much better. St Basils and this opportunity has definitely helped me get back on track, feel calmer and more focused and in control of my life”
“I feel like I’m getting a lot of good experience here and transferable skills and after this opportunity I would still like to do something with my Law degree so my next steps will be trying to get a graduate position somewhere in a law firm”.
“I’d definitely recommend this to other young people at St Basils. The staff are there to help you, you just need to ask them!”
Kash Munroe, St Basils Partnerships and Progression Officer said: “I’m really pleased with how it’s all going. Companies are often surprised by the skills and attitudes of our some of our young residents, and I definitely have a few more young people on my books that have the right skills and attitudes, just like Eryk, that just need a local company to take a chance on them and offer them an opportunity, which initially could just be work experience for a week or two. Honestly they just need that one shot.”
St Basils are always looking for companies who are willing to offer their expertise through CV workshops, Interview skills workshops and mock interviews as well as potentially offering work experience placements to our young people. If your company can help please email Kash via Kashimar.Munroe@stbasils.org.uk or call mobile: 07850 310994.