After a lengthy layoff, Francis is pumped to get to work again
All smiles: Francis' first day back at GymCo
On Monday 10 May Francis made a long-awaited return to employment in GymCo, Cityside – almost 14 months after being furloughed in March 2020.
Part of the T1 programme, an upskilling service that precedes entry into paid employment, Francis has been maintaining his fitness with his family by completing a steps challenge that was set at the beginning of lockdown. But he has deeply missed his job and life at the HIVE, particularly his fellow participants and staff.
With the easing of lockdown restrictions, Francis is beginning to reap the rewards of renewed opportunities. As well as getting back to work, he is seeing his personal trainer again, and has been able to resume his journey in the HIVE, where he is currently attending ICT sessions with Onside and courses in managing a personal budget.
While a minimal staff presence on Monday offered limited chances to reconnect with some of his colleagues, Francis did see the familiar faces of some GymCo members, who expressed their pleasure in seeing his safe passage back to work.
The feeling was, of course, mutual. It is safe to say that Francis is over the moon to be back.
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This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy.