Construction Training - Stuart Higson

Stuart, a recovering alcoholic, turns his life around with a little help from City West’s construction skills scheme

Stuart Higson has transformed his life after turning his back on alcohol and choosing to build a brighter future with ForViva group member City West Housing Trust’s construction training programme.

Stuart, 35, originally from Little Hulton, had lost his job as a joiner and was living on the streets after his alcohol addiction spiralled out of control.

He explained: “For about three years my drink problem was really bad and things escalated when I broke up with my partner. I was lonely and kept turning to alcohol. My family tried to help me but in the end they couldn’t put up with me anymore. I detoxed three times but couldn’t stop.

I ended up living on the streets for about eight weeks a couple of years ago, all over Manchester.

Stuart successfully completed a relapse prevention course earlier this year and was referred to the landlord’s training scheme by Achieve Salford Recovery Services.

The eight-week programme is run by City West in partnership with Achieve, and offers hands-on experience in the construction industry while working towards a nationally recognised qualification.

Stuart gained new skills in tiling, plastering and bricklaying on the course as well as refreshing his joinery skills.

Stuart said: “The course was brilliant, I got a massive confidence boost from it. I wasn’t sure how people would be, with me being a recovering alcoholic, but it’s a place you can go and feel welcome. The staff are great. No-one judges you and its kept me motivated and my mind off drinking. You learn new skills and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Stuart stopped drinking over five months ago and now has a roof over his head in Eccles, where he lives with his dog.

Now Stuart has been offered a full-time job at North West based construction firm ForWorks doing joinery, tiling and plastering and is looking forward to starting soon.

He is also volunteering two days a week at City West’s training programme to support trainees to learn new construction skills and improve their prospects.

Stuart’s even helping others who are battling alcohol addiction, supporting a friend to seek help from Achieve at Salford Recovery Services.

Stuart added: “I can’t wait to start my new job. My family are made up for me and things are looking good.”

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