A MAN who was unemployed for 13 years has been helped back into the work place thanks to the support of a housing association.

Neil Simmons had spent years looking for work but has now started a training work placement with a view to securing a permanent job.

The 46-year-old, who lives with his partner and three children in a Coast and Country property in Redcar, is working as a ground worker at Wearmouth Construction, organised through the housing association’s ‘Forging Futures’ programme.

He said: “Being out of work and applying for jobs without receiving feedback from employers is disheartening and can seriously sap your confidence. I am really grateful to ‘Forging Futures’ as it has given me the chance to prove myself and show an employer what I am capable of.

“The work placement is building up my experience and self-confidence, which should stand me in good stead when seeking permanent employment.”

The company launched its ‘Forging Futures’ project in collaboration with partner agencies earlier this year and Mr Simmons’ placement is the first external work organised through the scheme.

Iain Sim, Coast & Country Chief Executive, said: “A significant element of ‘Forging Futures’ is providing meaningful, paid work placements to further enhance people’s confidence and equip them with the practical experience needed to help them get back into employment.”