Liam Waterman is an apprentice on the Galvin's Chance ‘into work' programme. He spoke to Janie Stamford about the difference it has made to his life
How did you get involved with Galvin's Chance? I'd been on probation and doing community service for a year. Two weeks before I was due to finish, my probation officer received an email about Galvin's Chance and put me forward. I have an NVQ Level 1 in catering and it's something I've always wanted to pursue, but because of my criminal record I haven't applied for many jobs.
Tell me about the programme I started it last November. First I had to go through a recruitment and selection day. Around 50 people from across London were invited to Westminster Kingsway College to complete a series of skill challenges and only 15 were picked to go on the programme.
How did you find it? It was kind of scary, but I had to concentrate on myself and not worry about anyone else around me. After that we did two weeks of pre-employment training provided by Springboard for certificates in health and hygiene and customer service before starting our work placements.
Where have you been working? I went to the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall. My cross training started in the more relaxed Long Bar and I'm now working as a commis waiter in the brasserie. I want to focus on working behind the bar and interacting with the customers and club members. In five years time, I'm hoping to have finished my course and maybe work abroad.
How has Galvin's Chance changed your life? If I hadn't got on the programme I think I would have still been going down that route of probation and community service, or worse, in prison. Galvin's Chance gave me the opportunity to focus and make a future for myself.
What motivates you? There are a lot of people that thought I wouldn't be able to do it because when things get hard I usually give up. But not this time. I know that everyone's expecting me to fail and really and truly I'd rather prove them wrong.