A BARRHEAD man who is living with cerebral palsy has told of his struggle to find a job.

John Blair, who has HND qualifications in both admin and IT, spent six months searching in vain for employment.

But things are now looking up for the determined 21-year-old after he secured employment with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

John’s condition affects his movement and co-ordination, as well as having an impact on his communication abilities.

And he said these proved to be a barrier when he was pursuing job opportunities.

Work coaches at Barrhead’s Job Centre Plus office had found many of the available vacancies required good communication skills and multi-tasking abilities, limiting the number of jobs that John could apply for.

After one opportunity fell through due to company restructuring, John earned an interview with the Citizens Advice Bureau – and was promptly offered a job as an admin support officer.

He told the Barrhead News: “There is so much to learn but I am enjoying my role and feeling supported.”

Support in getting John back into work has come from a number of sources.

As Citizens Advice is a charity, funding for the position comes from the Scottish Employer Recruitment Incentive (SERI), which offers support to unemployed young people facing additional barriers.

John’s workplace has also been assessed by a team from the Access to Work programme, who have offered advice on what software should be provided to help with his communication skills, breaking down many of the barriers which prevented him applying for other employment opportunities.

Teresa O’Hara, manager at Barrhead’s Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “We are happy to be involved and provide this opportunity for John.

“He has settled in really quickly to the office environment, carrying out assigned tasks, and is already displaying a willingness to learn about the bureau and our services.”

This appointment is one of many which have come as a boost to youth unemployment statistics in East Renfrewshire.

The number of young people claiming unemployment benefit in the area during January fell to 140 – a drop of 10 per cent on the same month in 2017.

More significantly, there has been a drop of 65 per cent over the past five years.

Meanwhile, overall unemployment has shown a decrease of more than half over the past five years.

Nora Sheridan, employer and partnership manager at Job Centre Plus, said: “The results we see are down to the work coaches and the relationship they have with our customers.

“We are coaching them to get them back into work but the focus really is on them and what they need.

“If people are ready to get a job then we will help them with that but, if not, we will continue to support them getting closer and closer to the labour market.”