WHEN Marc Atkinson was forced to leave work after being struck down with multiple sclerosis he found it near impossible to find a job once his health improved.
A former director at a contact centre, Atkinson felt frustrated after being knocked back by a series of companies in the early application process.
Adamant that his condition was hindering his chances of employment, the 33-year-old decided to set up his own Wearside recruitment solutions company, Penshaw View Training.
The firm, which has been running for seven months, has already placed more than 100 people into work and has a 60% conversion rate from training into jobs.
Atkinson said: “I was diagnosed with MS in 2010 and I had to leave work through ill health. When my health improved I started looking for work but I was getting knocked back from jobs I would have normally bagged no problem.
“It was so frustrating because I was a director before I left work and I felt heavily discriminated against for having MS. I thought this was unfair so I chose to help myself and became self-employed.” Penshaw View offers training courses at various locations across Sunderland and the surrounding area that are free of charge.
Working with the local job centres, the firm provides a thorough programme which includes team-building, interview skills, telesales and customer service methods to ready its students for a variety of employment opportunities. If a client is unsuccessful in gaining employment, the firm will ask for constructive feedback from the interviewer and look at building upon those skills required.
The training firm currently employs nine people, but Atkinson hopes to grow that number as the business starts to take off.
“We’re already training recruits for bluechip organisations such as npower and Orange,” he said. “I’d like to employ more people as coaches when we’ve got some more companies like that on board.
“I don’t do this solely for the purpose of making money.
“I set up this company because I’m dedicated to getting people into work because I know first-hand how difficult it is.”