Conor is the Executive Director of CJK, our generous corporate partners who not only support Coolmine through fundraising and events but also provide life changing opportunities for graduates who have completed treatment programmes with Coolmine.
“In September 2018 Damien Petticrew, our MD at the time, attended an open day for businesses in Coolmine and our partnership began.
“Damien and I met Jamie (Group Leader/Key Holder) in Coolmine and agreed to employ Jamie as a General Operative on a part time basis (three days a week). This role then transitioned to fulltime until October 2019. By October 2019 Jamie was registered as an electrical apprentice and is now only a year away from being fully qualified. Samir has followed an identical journey but exactly one year behind. Both apprentices have been winners of apprentice of the month and are viewed as being in the top tier of CJK apprentices (we have a total of 140 apprentices).
“Since 2021 CJK have employed four general operatives. Two are now full time in CJK, one is employed on a part time basis and one fell back into addiction. Please note that he was an excellent employee for 9 months until this issue arose.
“When the initiative started out, we honestly felt that this was one way – that we were just doing our bit. Over the last four years this has flipped. Originally, we were nervous entering the initiative (maybe even with trepidation). But how wrong we were. CJK now views Coolmine as an important partner that has provided us with a recruitment opportunity providing hard working, talented candidates that have taken their opportunity with both hands.
“This partnership fits in seamlessly with our culture. No judgement, everyone deserves an opportunity and a second, third or fourth chance.
“Our staff have also experienced huge positives. We’ve all learned not to judge a book by its cover. Many of our team, like the general public have previously had preconceived ideas about people in addiction, particularly opioid/heroin addiction. Our team comes from all walks of life and working alongside Coolmine Graduates has dismantled these preconceived perceptions. In fact, it has been heart-warming to see a genuine willingness and encouragement from our team to see the graduates succeed. We believe our team are looking at this initiative with the view “if they help people through addiction, they will help me if I slip and fall”. Our team is stronger because of the partnership with Coolmine TC.
“Giving people the opportunity of employment after addiction recovery programmes is vital to support their ongoing recovery. All families have or will encounter addiction in one form or another. Going through addiction and recovery builds a resilience that if channelled in the right direction results in reliable hard-working candidates. We now have first-hand experience of giving people an opportunity when they feel the wider community has given up on them. Our five Coolmine graduates’ performance has been exemplary. Always on time, never off work, hard-working, reliable and full of “can do” attitude.”