My wife’s death left me with four children to bring up… and a job to find
14 Aug 2023
As a trained lawyer, David spent 12 years working to support refugees and migrants to find their feet in the UK and overcome the barriers they faced in securing jobs.
Then his life took a tragic turn, and it was David who found himself in need of support.
The 46-year-old had been working for a refugee charity in Manchester when his wife Joy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Nine months later she died at home in her sleep, leaving David as the sole carer of four children aged three to 13.
Childcare duties, in particular the need to drop off his children at two different schools while looking after his infant son, meant going out to work was impossible.
“I was offered help with childcare for my youngest, but this was a three-year-old who had just lost his mother – I couldn’t do it,” he recalls.
David was referred to Ingeus and the Restart Scheme, which offers government-funded employability and wellbeing support to jobseekers across Greater Manchester.
“At my first interview my Career Coach Michelle, rather than just looking at my papers, said, ‘Tell me who you are’.
“‘Steering you towards conventional jobs would be a waste of your experience. You have so much to offer the refugee community.’
“She put me in touch with Sector3 – a charity infrastructure support network in Stockport. I went along to one of its meetings with 20 local charities and straight away I felt at home.”
David started voluntary work fundraising for the charities, helping to raise in excess of £30,000 and to bid for funding for a project supporting refugees
The funding was won and, soon after, Sector3 advertised a new role of Refugee and Migrant Partner Lead for a consortium of organisations.
David applied for, and got, the job. He says: “Ingeus gave me interview practice and training in writing a high-performance, results-based CV – that preparation made the difference.”
Sector3 recognises the value in being a flexible employer, which means David can work from home three days a week, writing reports and funding bids, and holding online meetings. On office days he can arrive at 10am and leave at 2pm, allowing time to do the school runs.
Vicky Bloomfield, Operations Manager at Sector3, says: “We were impressed by David from the moment we met him. He is a natural leader and we are excited about what he can bring to his role and the benefits for migrant communities in Stockport.”
David adds: “I love my job. I come from East Africa and understand that many refugees have had bad experiences.
“The people who come here, be it refugees or migrants, have a story to tell and it’s important to listen to what they have to offer.
“By seeing who I was, Ingeus and Michelle supported my chances of getting employment where I could transform lives and ignite a positive chain reaction of goodness in the society in which I am raising my children.”
Michelle says: “David took onboard every suggestion and understood the value of volunteering and networking. His positive outlook on life, despite major setbacks, are a credit to his strength of character. He is back in the driving seat of his life. It has been a privilege to work with him and the ripple effect of his support to others will flow again.”