Rowland values his scrap metal business

31 May 2024

A lifetime’s experience working with metal has proved to be a cast iron guarantee of success for self-employed scrap dealer, Rowland, from Haywood in Rochdale. Remarking to his Ingeus key worker Emil that, aged 63, all he knew about was welding and the value of metal, sparked a new business idea that, one year on, is going from strength to strength.

The scrap metal merchant turned his hand as a locksmith and worked in engineering before spending 21 years as a welder in the armed forces as part of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Feeling that severe dyslexia ‘held me back all my life’, Rowland learnt his trade on the job, able to read, but struggling to write. He never dreamt of being able to legitimately set up a business with the stringent licences involved in metal removal and processing. He also feared any rigid and bureaucratic help to get back to work would clash with his self-confessed no nonsense approach to life.

“Ex-squaddies don’t always fit in to civvy street and people in the past have just assumed I’m stupid because words are such a nightmare to me,” says Rowland, who was referred to the Working Well (Work and Health Programme) in Rochdale after being unemployed for three years. Delivered by Ingeus and partners across Greater Manchester on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority it helps people with disabilities and health conditions into work – including self-employment.

Rowland needn’t have feared Ingeus’ help wouldn’t suit his needs or personality:

“As soon as Ingeus took me under its wing, it was brilliant. They realised the problems I had and bent over backwards to help me. The whole thing just gelled and worked – I really appreciated someone actually taking the time to listen to me and help me.”

Embracing the support on offer, Rowland attended sessions on motivation, wellbeing, CV creation, job searching and interview techniques. When the idea of self-employment struck, his key worker Emil sat patiently working through local authority forms with Rowland, gaining identification documentation and security checks, and arranging funding for licences and travel. The business was soon forging ahead!

“I love being the master of my own fate,” continues Rowland, who has built up a busy local collection round and has just celebrated his first year in business. “I’m earning a living through my own efforts and am happy doing what I know about.

“Ingeus did a wonderful job, keeping me motivated and offering practical help. Who knew I had a skill I could put to good use after all these years? I guess Emil did!”

Working Well Work and Health Programme

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