Thomas McInally

I didn’t even take my jacket off for the first two months. But gradually I settled in…

I’ve been with Haven for about 11 years. Before that I wasn’t working at all. I had just done a few courses through the Jobcentre.I worked part-time with Haven at first. It took me a while to get used to it. I didn’t even take my jacket off for the first two months. But gradually I settled in and now I’m working full-time.

At first I was working on the line but when new opportunities came up I jumped at them, getting involved in different stuff like paperwork, booking in jobs and materials and making sure they were dealt with properly. Work put me through a first aid course and helped me get my forklift licence. Now, I’m working as one of two forklift drivers here in the factory.  It’s good and I like it. It keeps me busy. There’s lots of things to do and stuff to remember, like making sure you don’t run over anyone!

We moved from Hillington to this new factory about two and a half months ago. It’s been hectic but it’s good now that we are settled in. I’ve also got used to my new travel arrangements – I have to take a second train to get to and from work – it’s not too bad. Having a job makes it all worth it. I’d be lost if I wasn’t working here.

I used to be on jobseekers allowance before I was working and it was only something like £70 a fortnight. I couldn’t go back to that. I enjoy having my own money too much. Now I don’t have to walk past a shop window and think I can’t afford that. I can afford it. I have a little boy who lives in Sweden and next month I’m going to go over to see him for the first time. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I wasn’t working.

Having extra money in your pocket because of work makes you feel better. You actually feel like you’re part of something instead of being a robot doing the same thing every day. Here, I am doing lots of different things. I could never go back to not working.

Working here is different to other places. We have a proper working factory, and work has to be done on time, but it’s more relaxed. Our managers don’t breathe down our necks. Don’t get me wrong there are deadlines but it is a lot easier for people like me and my colleagues because we don’t get as much pressure as we would working somewhere else. That makes it much easier to put yourself forward for different opportunities and to learn new skills.