Kyle with John Stone and Cllr Kate Groucutt
Kyle with John Stone and Cllr Kate Groucutt

When 19-year-old Kyle Hamon walked into St Helens Borough Council’s Ways to Work Centre in St Helens town centre, little did he know that his dream job was waiting for him on a noticeboard.

Actively looking for a more stable form of employment than labouring could offer to support his young family, Kyle – who had always wanted to work on cars – spotted a position with local independent business, Stone Tyres, through an Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) scheme which looks to secure local residents a reimbursed 35 hour per week paid employment contract over a 26-week period.

After impressing management during this time despite having no prior experience or the relevant qualifications, Kyle – or young un’ as he is affectionately called by colleagues – is now a full-time member of staff, a valued member of the team and flourishing in his role as a tyre fitter with a bright future ahead of him.

“I was going around looking for work but not having much joy, so called into the Ways to Work Centre in town to see if there was anything going there,” said Kyle, who lives in Fingerpost.

“After being down on my luck a little, I couldn’t believe it when I saw an advertisement for an ILM position at Stone Tyres. Working on cars is something I’ve always wanted to do so it was too good of an opportunity to miss out on, so I applied with the help of the Ways to Work employment coaches and was determined to get my head down, work hard and impress which has certainly paid off for me.”

Encouraging other young people in a similar position to him to seek assistance from Ways to Work, Kyle added: “I would one hundred percent recommend Ways to Work for anyone actively looking for a job. The team are great and I can’t thank them – and my work colleagues at Stone Tyres – enough for the help, support and belief they have shown in me which has changed my life for the better.”

Hailing the impact Kyle has made since joining his team, John Stone, owner of Stone Tyres in College Street, said: “Although we affectionately call him young un’ – Kyle has a wise head on young shoulders – he’s a valuable asset with huge scope for progression and as we look to grow the business even further with an MOT centre, I’ve big plans for Kyle and can see him running one of my depots in the future.

“We took a chance on Kyle – he had no experience in the industry so would I have taken him on if it wasn’t for the ILM programme? Probably not, but it was good for me to have the certainty of having the subsidised wage if it didn’t work out but I’m glad it did and he is now a valued member of the team.

A big believer in workplaces giving young people like Kyle an opportunity, John added: “It’s a benefit not a detriment to take young people on – we’ve all got to start somewhere.

“Unskilled doesn’t mean unworthy or unreliable. Kyle is one of the first here on a morning which shows his hunger and motivation to work, succeed and provide for his family. He’s very much a success story of the ILM programme and I’d encourage other businesses in the borough to consider this programme when the opportunity comes about as a way of strengthening the workforce, productivity – and most importantly, untapping local talent.”

Commenting on a recent visit to Stone Tyres to see Kyle in action, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Business and Skills, Councillor Kate Groucutt, said: “It was great to meet Kyle and see how far he has come since starting his ILM through our Ways to Work programme – now in a full-time job, earning a good wage with job security and satisfaction.

“It’s clear to see from talking and listening to both Kyle and John what an asset he is and there will be a lot more people like Kyle out there who would make an excellent addition to any workforce, if given the chance.

“We want more employers and residents – no matter what their age or background – whether looking for an apprenticeship, a job or an ILM programme like Kyle, to contact our Ways to Work team. It’s part of our plan to grow the economy, jobs and local businesses like Stone Tyres which has benefited from working with us on the ILM programme.

“Later this year, we’ll be celebrating the achievements of local businesses at our St Helens Borough Business Awards in partnership with St Helens Chamber. There are thousands of outstanding businesses in our borough who do fantastic things at local, regional and national level, so we’d love to see as many entries as possible before the Friday 30 June deadline.”

Residents in St Helens Borough currently looking for work are invited to drop in at a Ways to Work jobs fayre in St Helens Town Hall between 11:00am-1:00pm on Monday 10 July where a number of local and national employers will be in attendance.

Ways to Work is designed to improve personal resilience and progress to sustainable employment for people over the age of 16 who are signed up to the programme which is part-funded by the European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative Funding.

You can register by emailing, calling 01744 676131 – or by visiting two dedicated Ways to Work Centres located in Church Square Shopping Centre, St Helens Town Centre, and Bridge Street, Earlestown.  

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