Working as a Senior Support Worker with those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, Joe Neeson is no stranger to supporting others, helping them to rebuild their lives for the better.

But at the age of 45 Joe’s world was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with epilepsy, a condition that resulted in him facing many challenges including the inability to continue with his work. Six years on and with some help and support from the Ferguslie Learning Centre, Joe has regained his confidence, up-skilled and is now back enjoying employment.

“Unfortunately as the seizures weren’t controlled I wasn’t fit to work and I became more and more isolated.

‘As my confidence began to hit a low I knew I needed to make a change and get myself back out there which is what brought me the Ferguslie Learning Centre. Having used the centre through my role as a Support Worker I knew the benefits of it – not only would I be able to integrate back into society but I would also have the opportunity to gain additional qualifications.”

With a familiar, friendly and supportive environment, Joe quickly grew in confidence and relished the opportunity to learn, completing a computer course before going on to study tourism.

The centre is warm and inviting and for me gives people a sense of self-worth.

'People are quick to judge and too often people are made to feel stupid. The centre is the complete opposite from that, the incentive is make you feel welcome, recognise everyone’s strengths and let them know their worth. That’s what I love about it and what ultimately helped me regain my confidence, increase my social skills and on top of that gain a qualification.”

With a range of new skills, Joe has been successful in securing a job as an Insurance Advisor for a local company Webhelp.

“The tourism course provided me with a range of transferable skills that I’m able to adapt to range of jobs including the one that I’m in. The help and support that I’ve received over the years from the centre has definitely helped me get to where I am now. It helped me through a really difficult time and has ultimately helped me turn my life around to the point where I’m now able to recognise the old me again.

I’m very grateful for that and hope that my story can help encourage others to do the same.”

If you’ve been inspired by Joe’s story and want to find out more about what the Ferguslie Learning Centre can do for you, click here.