Dean started at Nacro Middlesbrough in August 2016. On his very first day I could see he was very upset; I walked over to him, introduced myself and asked what was wrong. Dean told me that he didn’t want to be here and it was his Mam making him come. I turned to him and said, ‘It’s my first week here too and everything is a little strange for me as well. Why not stay for the day and see what we do and then make your mind up then?’

Dean agreed to stay and we got through the day together. The next day Dean came back to Nacro with a little bit of a better attitude and again we got stuck in to some good work. By the Wednesday morning, he came in first thing and asked me if his two friends could start on the Environmental course, as he had told them all about it and what he did when he was with us. Thursday morning came and Dean’s friends joined us.

Eight weeks later, Dean is a completely different person to when he first started at Nacro Middlesbrough. He works extremely hard on a daily basis – digging, cutting grass and cutting branches down – and just gets on with everyone in the group. He is such a pleasure to work with… so much so that I have made him Nacro’s Works Foreman for our Environmental Team.