“Once you have experienced losing everything, you’ve got nothing more to lose and the only way is to go back up. The only thing you have is your life and the Centre has given me mine back”
Twenty-two-year-old Ismail, a former child soldier from Somalia, arrived at the Centre seeking just one thing – help to find a job. Having been in the UK for 6 years he had studied for a degree and worked in hotels which provided him with accommodation. But having lost his hotel job he had nowhere to live and began to find it increasingly hard to even search for employment.
Homeless, he was forced to sleep on the streets, or at Heathrow airport or on night buses. He had a chest infection, blisters on his feet and was in a pretty poor way. But he found details of the Centre on a leaflet from a job centre and arrived at the Gateway. Ismail was assessed by Centre staff and they offered him help and advice to find housing, a new job, and with claiming a Jobseekers Allowance. He also received treatment for his chest infection from the onsite surgery.
By using the computers at the Centre’s Job Club, Ismail was able to search for jobs and applied for 300 to 400 jobs a week. Once he started getting interviews Centre staff provided him with a suit and helped him practice interview techniques.