Jason Tyrrell joined bemix (then called Skillnet Group) in December 2014 as a student in Head Held High, our employment coaching programme (now Supported Internships). Jason had been unemployed for some time and was struggling with depression and anxiety.

"I had been signing on for ESA for a long time until someone realised that I was stuck in the system.   I was referred for the Employment Coaching course with Skillnet where I met Joe who helped me consider that I might be able to get a job.  With Joe’s support, my confidence grew and I was able to see the potential for what I could do.  Being supported at my own pace helped me overcome my lack of confidence and dyslexia.  The course gave me the opportunity to get work experience in a setting where no-one would judge me for getting something wrong." - Jason

As part of the employment coaching programme, Jason undertook a work placement working as front of house and in the kitchen in The Pulse Cafe.  Jason quickly learnt the ropes and began supporting other volunteers and people on supported work experience.

“I’ve done more in the last month than I thought I would achieve in my entire life” – Jason in September 2015, when he started supporting people in a paid role.

In September 2015, an opportunity arose for Jason to take on some paid hours supporting people in the café. From there, Jason took on more responsibility and progressed onto a full-time Support Worker apprenticeship to develop his skills further.  During his apprenticeship, Jason mainly worked with Eco Shed, supporting people in the group and working on a few big commissions including making and installing instruments for the Orchards Centre in Milton Regis and making school fence posts from Chestnut wood coppiced from the school grounds. 

Jason also arranged a spoon making commission with a fellow artist, and taught people in Eco Shed to carve mahogany pendants – this takes a lot of practice as understanding the grain of the wood is important. In addition to working with Eco Shed, Jason also supported other groups including the Schools Project (now called Be Seen, Be Heard) and Sittingbourne Media Group.  Jason took the time to get to know people as individuals and brought humour and his personal interests into his role. 

"Jason has been so funny - he has a good sense of humour and he's nice to work with. He's got patience when he helps which is fantastic, and he makes you laugh when you're down. He's supported me with my woodwork, particularly helping with measuring the wood. I'm pretty good at painting things myself so he just supports me with the things I'm not so good at." – Rosemary, Eco Shed

In June 2017, Jason completed his apprenticeship as a support worker and was employed by bemix (then Skillnet Group) supporting people with learning difficulties in arts and woodwork, as well as continuing to play a key role in health and safety and development of The Pulse.  At the time, we asked Jason about his plans for the future.  He said - 

"I would like to come off Universal Credits by increasing hours at the Living Wage. I am looking at taking on Health and Safety responsibility for The Pulse, maintenance and gardening at The Pulse and possibly doing some teaching assistant work on the Skillnet supported internship programme.  I am considering doing training to take on PAT testing all the equipment at The Pulse and Eco Shed.  I support at Eco Shed on a Tuesday and provide support cover when needed.

I would like to be working for Skillnet full time and use my spare time to work on my own hobbies and making." 

Now, in March 2019, Jason is now employed full time with bemix, spending 4 hours per week maintaining health and safety at The Pulse, working as a Teaching Assistant 2 days a week, and as a Work Coach 3 days per week within the Supported Internships team. The Supported Internships programme exists to find meaningful, paid employment for young people (aged 16-24) with learning difficulties and/or autism. 

"I now have the confidence to use my initiative and suggest ways for improvement. I love that I have work that uses my experiences to help people as it helps me, too." - Jason


 Watch our short bemix film to see Jason talking about his work with bemix and the Supported Internships team.