6th October 2014
Volunteering helps Thomas Achieve
AFTER volunteering with Cheshire probation for three years, Thomas Mayers has found his vocation in life.
The 27-year-old is now employed as an Achieve case worker, based at Wythenshawe probation office, and he believes the volunteer experience helped him get the position.
Achieve, which is part of the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company, is an organisation that works with offenders to help them gain employment, training and education.
Thomas applied for the volunteer initiative after spotting an advert on the internet, and found that the experience enriched his university studies.
He said: “I’d been working at a call centre, which was so depressing, and spotted the advert during my lunch break.
“I was very excited about the volunteer induction session, it was exactly what I’d hoped it would be and it gave me tremendous confidence to be accepted onto it while also seeing that I was going down the right path.”
Volunteering roles included peer mentoring, helping to deliver the Thinking Skills Programme, working in Approved Premises supporting staff from Manchester College and participating in Circles of Support and Accountability as well as working at breach court. He combined volunteering with studying for his degree, psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, and he graduated with first class honours.
Thomas has been a case worker in post since July, 2014, and is relishing the opportunity.
He said: “I love it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, it’s challenging and everyday is different.
“I don’t have sentencing powers, and I think that helps me develop a different kind of rapport with offenders.
“It is tremendously rewarding to see someone come in for the first time and say ‘I’ve no I.D., no CV and no bank account and I am feeling depressed’ and then help them turn it around.”
He added: “I can see past the crime and see the person behind it. Some friends say ‘I don’t know how you do it’, but it’s about seeing humanity and helping people reintegrate.
“Employment and education are two key elements that can help support that reintegration.”
Achieve is co-funded by the National Offender Management Service and the European Social Fund.
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