Former soldier from Hainault starts own business after ‘life-changing’ course

A former soldier from Hainault has started up his own business after years of unemployment.

Wayne Rogers, 30, of Baywood Square, served in Iraq during his seven years in the Household Cavalry.

After leaving in 2008, he said he found it difficult to find a long-term job.

He said: “I’ve been in the flooring business for 14 years and that was my main trade before I went in the army.

“But when I went self-employed it was going downhill and nothing was really happening.”

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Earlier this month he completed a maintenance and construction course with 11 others at Barnabas Workshops in Ilford.

He launched his own business - W.R. Flooring and Maintenance – within a week of finishing.

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Mr Rogers said: “Before the course I couldn’t get a job and my confidence was low.

“Without this I’d still be where I was before. It’s changing my life and I can’t thank them enough.”

Barnabas Workshops works with the Job Centre and other agencies to run courses to help people into work.

The new maintenance and construction course included literacy, numeracy, interview skills and motivation.

It was funded by Redbridge Institute and New Craft Training ran the practical course in Hainault.

On Thursday (26) Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince presented students with their qualifications at their end-of-course celebrations at the Barnabas Workshops headquarters in Ilford High Road.

Barnabas chief executive Bernadette Benn said she designed the course to develop aspects beyond basic training.

She said: “Attitude and time-keeping was an issue at the beginning and we had some people drop out in the first few weeks.

“But we got through those things and already one man has set up his own business and five others are in work.

“Some of the guys had very low self-worth but they’re a different bunch now.”

Student Sandeep Rattan, 30, of Ilford, agreed.

He said: “I think everyone on the course will be working within a month.

“A lot of us were struggling at the beginning but we got further than we expected.”

Mr Rattan has had two job offers since starting the course and also has plans for his own business.

Barnabas Workshops hope to continue running the course if funding is available.

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