Kingsley’s story: managing change though a pandemic

30 Jul 2021

When we last spoke to Kingsley in July 2020, he had been working with our Building Opportunities Skills and Success (BOSS) project and secured full-time employment.

From completing an industry qualification to bigger hopes for the future, find out how Kingsley is doing a year later.

Reflecting on the past year

“I felt that I’d achieved something [completing a Slingers ticket – industry training] and could go on to better things. I suppose it was a confidence boost for me. I was in a low place before, trying so much to get on and struggling.

The Slinger ticket gave me a focus because, when I was labouring, I’d always look at the cranes and other machines and felt those people were better.


I still feel there’s a lot to overcome.

I see other people, younger lads, getting chances and doing roles that I know I could do.

I always get good feedback from the managers, they can’t find fault with my work, but sometimes I put walls up.

It doesn’t help I picked up some bad traits from inside, I can be cold or unapproachable.

I still find it quite difficult to fit in especially with having an unusual name.

I feel like people talk behind my back; they know my background.

When I was in prison, I was given more trusted jobs and my perception of myself changed.

It gave me something to live up to and I’ve tried to keep that up.”

Living through a pandemic

“Well, I had a good run of work mostly but elements of unemployment from March 2020 to March 2021. I was probably out of work for around four months.

It was good having that support on the phone [from The Wallich] and getting some positive energy.

When you’re on the call, you can have a conversation about looking forward. We started talking about an NVQ that I wanted to get but I wasn’t sure if BOSS could help me again.

My support worker brought up other people that could help and we started talking to Better Jobs, Better Futures (BJBF); straight away I noticed a difference.

Probably because of COVID and other stuff, it was quite a difficult start. I phoned my support worker and was feeling really negative.

Talking through it helped me get a different perspective about things.”

Maintaining change and emotions

“I’m still beating myself up about past mistakes. I dwell on moments and sometimes have very negative thoughts.

I am trying to be more positive and getting the funding for the NVQ has helped to re-energise the prospect of training and the thirst for achieving.


What I put in now, is what I’m going to get out of it later.

There’s been times where I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on the cranes, when I’ve got 10 tonne loads above my head and am working on a £55 million project in the center of Swansea looking over everyone.

I think to myself, there’s not many people that can actually work on these machines or have the courage and capability to do this role.

I feel proud of myself that I have achieved that.

Keeping the Slinger ticket is motivation for moving forward – you need to constantly prove yourself.

I’m a keen member of the YMCA gym – it’s used by a lot of ex-offenders. I talk to a lot of the guys who are newly released.  I’ve told them all about The Wallich and particularly BOSS.

I’ve tried to help them by using my experience and telling them about getting into construction and talking to BOSS. I tell them that even though I’m on a labourer’s role now, I’m working around cranes and have fulfilled my dream of working on cranes.”

Ambitions for the future

“I’m back as a labourer at the moment and the NVQ is on hold, but I know it will get done.

I panic about the theory work, but I know it’s down to me now – people can only help me so far, if I don’t put the effort in I won’t get anything back.

I still have that drive to do better. I want to get on the bigger and better machines, and I know that will bring more out of me.

Basically, keep pushing myself forward – everyone has obstacles in their lives and I’m no different. I sometimes think that my obstacles are bigger than everyone else but that’s not always the case.

There are so many people out there to give help – I’ve realised that now. It’s just knowing where to look, who to go to and what to ask for.

I’ve been talking to Careers Wales and there is a possibility that I could access the Re-Act funding to do more tickets for telehandler and maybe a dumper ticket too.

I know what to expect now I’ve worked with BOSS and BJBF so I’m excited about what that can do for me.

I believe more now that, long term, there’s a better future for me and that’s what I’m striving for. To stay on site and gain more qualifications, maybe progress to foreman or supervisor.”

Mark James, Employability Programme Manager at Better Jobs, Better Futures said;

Better Jobs, Better Futures are delighted to be working alongside the BOSS project and supporting Kingsley to improve his career prospects.

We are thrilled to see the progress Kingsley has made; he is a role model to those facing similar barriers and challenges and we are looking forward to supporting him on his onward career journey.”

Find out more about our Building Opportunities, Skills and Success (BOSS) project

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