A Praa Sands man has won an award which celebrates achievements in employment and skills activity across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly for his success in finding work.
John Meakin, 20, won the individual Welfare to Work category at the 2013 Cornwall Works WISE awards, which were held at Newquay's Headland Hotel today.
The event, which is in its sixth year is held annually on Europe Day to reflect the that the European Social Fund – which is administered in the Duchy through the ESF Convergence Programme – has played in employment and skills provision and innovation.
Mr Meakin was nominated by Charlie Philpott of the Phoenix Works Project, which is run by Cornwall Fire and Rescue.
He had been referred to Phoenix Works by Penzance Jobcentre as having been unemployed for eight months and suffering from a lack of self confidence, which had not been helped by the lack of feedback from prospective employers.
The Phoenix course helped him regain his confidence and gave him the opportunity to volunteer with BF Adventure.
Although it was a 50 mile round journey, on his moped, he attended in all weathers and completed the placement at the Falmouth-based outdoor activity centre.
He was then interviewed for an apprenticeship and got the job.
Mark Hoban, Minister of State for Work and Pensions said, "I'd like to commend the commitment and example of all the award winners – those who have turned their lives around and got back into employment, those who are developing their skills to increase their employability and those who have helped bring these positive changes to fruition – all thanks to the successful use of both European Social Fund and mainstream programmes working collectively.
"Helping people back to work is our top priority and it is great to see the active involvement of the private sector in creating jobs and developing the skills of their workforce."
The other winners were:
Smart Savings, Redruth in the Welfare to Work organisation category
Joss Hawkins, Pall Newquay in the Innovation individual category
Penryn Jobcentre Plus and Cornwall College in the Innovation organisation category
Christine Dayus, Regional Officer for UNISON in the individual skills category
Ocean Housing Group, St Austell in the organisation skills category
Tre Care Group, Praze in the employer championing Welfare to Work category
Tony Sampson, Cornwall Solar Panels, Blackwater in the employer championing skills category
The outstanding contribution award went to Michelle Maslen, acting work services director for Southern England and chair of the ESF Convergence steering group.