A CONSETT man has found success after starting his apprenticeship at Durham County Council last year, with the support of DurhamEnable.
Kris Irving, 31, was referred to Durham County Council’s Supported Employment service DurhamEnable by staff at Consett Jobcentre.
Despite being well qualified through the Open University, Kris struggled with social anxiety and had only ever worked in voluntary roles.
DurhamEnable paired Kris with job coach Mel Kearney, who took the time to learn about Kris’ skills and ambition to start a career in IT, seeing the opportunity in matching Kris with an apprenticeship role within the Council.
Mel said: “I supported Kris to complete his application forms – part of this work was helping Kris to recognise his skills, he would look at a job description and think he did not meet the criteria, he lacked confidence in himself.”
Support from Mel helped Kris to recognise his strengths where he would have previously looked at a job advertisement and felt underqualified, and helped Kris overcome other barriers in how applications were worded.
Mel added: “Kris has autism and sees things as very black and white, so he has trouble seeing the grey areas in application requirements.”
Kris’ application was successful, and DurhamEnable was on hand to advise throughout the recruitment process. Mel liaised with recruitment leads to ensure reasonable adjustments were made.
Reasonable adjustments allowed Kris to show his knowledge and skills fully in the interview and successfully gain an apprenticeship post.
After starting his apprenticeship, Kris was welcomed into his team and thrived in his work environment, but struggled with the traditional learning atmosphere he had to be in for the academic part of his apprenticeship.
DurhamEnable and Durham County Council’s apprenticeships team were able to work together to set Kris up with an education provider that understood his needs and allowed him to learn in an environment suited to him.
Mel said: “There were loads of points where I thought Kris might walk away and give up, which is why I’m such an advocate for him. Because he didn’t.”
Team Leader Kaveh Damestani said: “Kris is extremely focussed and hard working. He has great attention to detail and carries out all tasks assigned to him. He always ensures that record keeping is maintained accurately and concisely and has formed a really good working relationship within the team.”
He added: “During the past few months, Kris has gained confidence and deals with customers in a polite and professional manner. He is an asset to the team and to the apprenticeship programme.”
The opportunity and support has allowed Kris to continue to progress in his career, applying for and successfully gaining an honorarium promotion within Durham County Council’s IT services.