Ambitious Joe urging others to give it a go and make a difference in employment

Joe Van

Didcot-resident Joe Nicholls is celebrating nine years in employment at County Print Finishers thanks to the help and support of Oxfordshire Employment.

Joe, is one of the many individuals who have benefitted over the years from the Oxfordshire Employment service, run by Oxfordshire County Council to support individuals with social care needs to find and stay in work. He is now calling on others who might benefit from the service to give it a go.

Joe, a 40-year-old father of two, first came to Oxfordshire Employment nearly a decade ago following a referral by JobCentre Plus, joining the team at County Print Finishers with the hope of gaining the skills to secure external employment.

Joe commented: “I’d struggled a lot in the past with my mental health, and so found it difficult to find a job that I would really suit me. I was referred to Oxfordshire Employment, who supported me in finding this job and, honestly, I’ve never looked back.”

He has always been very open about his own challenges with his mental health and the difference that being in stable employment makes. As a result, his passion and unique insight into the needs of someone who has dealt with mental health needs allowed him to flourish and secure in a permanent role with the team as a Support Worker – helping others in the shoes he once found himself in.

Joe continued: “I know from my own experiences how important work is and the benefits that it brings to people. If it wasn’t for the help that I’ve been given by County Print, I might never have stayed in work. Now I have a stable job that I love, and I can make a real difference to other people’s lives every day.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the additional challenges that it’s brought with it, being able to stay in work and provide support to others has been even more important to me. I am so grateful for what the service has given me. It is a really great opportunity and I would definitely encourage others to follow the same route as me.”

County Print, a Supported Business, is celebrating 75 years of employment support in 2021. Starting in 1946 as Oxford’s Blind and Handicapped workshop, it is now part of Oxfordshire Employment and provides real-world work support to individuals with social care needs to find and stay in work with new employers.

Councillor Lawrie Stratford, Oxfordshire County Council’s lead member for adult social care said: “Joe’s unique understanding and empathy make him a great support worker and mental health first aider is a real asset to the council’s adult social care service. His journey has been truly inspiring, and he’s made a real difference to the lives of so many. I hope that by telling his story it inspires others to take the plunge.

“I am delighted that County Print has been able to provide support to those that need it, while providing a great service to businesses, for 75 years. I hope there are still many more years to come.”

Find out more about County Print Finishers and their work on the County Print Finishers website.

Learn more about Oxfordshire Employment, and how it might be able to support you by going to the Oxfordshire County Council website.

More Information

  • County Print Finishers, part of Oxfordshire Employment, is operated by Oxfordshire County Council and provides a range of ISO 9001 quality assured services to the printing and data destruction industry.
  • County Print Finishers is a Disability Confident Leader.