Charlie Passingham used to struggle to get out of bed. Now he’s a VGC traffic marshall with a bright future ahead of him.
Charlie has Asperger’s and was suffering from suffocating panic attacks until MENCAP helped him with coping strategies. He’d always wanted to be a builder, so after a two-day taster at Barking and Dagenham College, Costain foreman Jamie Abnett encouraged him to join the two-week ‘Get into Construction’ course, run by The Prince’s Trust in association with Costain.
After the course he scored almost 100% in his CSCS test.
Jamie arranged an interview for him with Mark Beer, VGC labour manager, and Charlie joined the VGC Group in November 2016.
“My first day was a bit nerve-racking, but it was enjoyable,” Charlie says. “The gang were nice and showed me the ropes. Costain also arranged for my three-day training course to be a qualified first-aider, and I did my ICI through VGC last month. I’m going to learn as much as I can to see where my career takes me.”
At last November’s The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards, Charlie won the London and South East Delta Airlines Rising Star Award. The Rising Star Award recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in sustainable employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.
“The awards ceremony in front of 350 people was scarier than anything I’ve done in a long time,” he said, “but I did enjoy it. Everyone on site found out about it, and they all congratulated me when I was next at work.”
Reasons to get up
“Charlie is helpful and flexible,” said Mark. “He does a number of jobs as part of our contract for client Costain on the Crossrail Anglia project. They include working in the stores and as a traffic marshall, which is a very busy role. He’s a valued member of our team.”
“I’m less shy and more talkative now,” Charlie concluded. “I enjoy being active, doing something positive and being happy. I like the variety in my job, helping out and keeping busy. I know everyone at work and they are all nice, and I really like having reasons to get up in the morning.”