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Unemployed equipped for a life of work
5:00pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
FROM being homeless and unemployed, Rod Nixon is back in work with prospects.
Mr Nixon, 57, from Cowley, is one of 14 people benefiting from newly launched enterprise Equip.
The not-for-profit company was set up by Stuart Waddington and offers paid work experience in cleaning and catering.
As well as vocational training, team members are taught other life skills, such as first aid, budgeting and anger management.
Mr Waddington, also 57, who lives in Florence Park, Oxford, has recruited 14 team members and four managers.
He came up with the idea after finding himself unemployed.
Mr Nixon spent 20 years in the IT industry before losing his job, marriage and home.
He said: “I was penniless and spent a year sleeping rough.
“I am still in the process of sorting out my life but Equip is helping me upgrade my computer skills and I plan to start my own IT business.
“In the meantime, I am happy to cook and clean to keep some money coming in.
“I have made the leap from benefits to being back in work.”
Another Equip member of is 54-year-old Victor Webster, who spent his childhood in children’s homes and adult life in prison.
After his release last year, he met Mr Waddington and is now learning catering skills.
He said: “It’s all a new experience for me. If I hadn’t come here, I would probably have ended up back in prison.”
Mr Waddington has years of experience in the voluntary sector, including for Stonham Housing Association, Oxford.
He said: “People can enter Equip at a low level but gain some skills. We provide training, build confidence and give people the chance to do real jobs with the aim that we can help find them permanent employment.
“We can testify that we have seen them work with the public, handle cash and so on.”
Equip is based in Isis Business Centre in Horspath Road and runs the Community Cafe in Florence Park.
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