Tideway employee who was out of work for 15 years has used his story to inspire others.
Of approximately 4,000 jobs created on the project during peak construction, Tideway has set a target that one in ten new starters in its contractor workforce should have been previously workless, to deliver a local jobs boost where it is needed most.
Joe O’Dwyer from south London is a great example of this commitment, saying joining Tideway was “the best thing I’ve ever done” after spending more than 15 years out of work.
Through his local Job Centre, the 53-year-old earned a string of qualifications and certificates on a five-week college course. Soon after, Tideway offered him a role as a General Operative – and Joe said he hasn’t looked back.
He shared his story with a group of people who were all homeless, formerly homeless or at risk of becoming so, as part of Work Ready Week. A week’s worth of workshops, aided by more than 50 Tideway volunteers, was organised to help the participants develop life-skills and gain confidence.
Joe said: “I’ve been on the project now for over nine months, and things are a lot better. I’m debt-free, I was on holiday last week.
“I’ve got a clean shirt, a nice watch on my hand and a few bob in my pocket. The people I’m working with are very nice, so I’m a happy bunny sitting here today.
“Since I’ve been on this project, I’ve got employee of the month three times. I’m going for the fourth one now. They reckon I’m fixing it.”
The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a 25 km super sewer tunnel being constructed to tackle the problem of sewage pollution in the River Thames. Once completed it will stop the millions of tonnes of untreated sewage that flow into the Thames each year.
Work on the super sewer ramps up in 2018 with tunnelling set to start soon.