Robert Forrester, chief executive of Bristol Street Motors parent company Vertu Motors, has offered a determined County Durham job seeker a placement as Trainee Sales Executive at Bristol Street Motors.
James Collingwood, 23, is a trained bricklayer from Wheatley Hill and has been unemployed for the past three years. After sending out more than 200 CVs and completing numerous application forms, with no avail, James, was starting to lose hope.
During one of his job-seeking sessions, James was asked if he would like to appear in a TV debate to discuss unemployment in the north-east. It was during this programme that he met Robert Forrester who was also commenting on the subject as a major motor retail employer in the region.
After speaking together, Robert took James' number and has since offered him an interview, which led to James securing a place as a Trainee Sales Executive for Bristol Street Motors.
James has completed his first week of sales training and is now based between Peterlee Hyundai and Sunderland Nissan dealerships.
"I am extremely pleased to be given this opportunity to work for Bristol Street Motors. I was really starting to give up hope of finding work. I must have sent out over 200 CVs to companies and received no feedback at all. It does get very frustrating when you're faced with a lot of closed doors, but I never gave up and was determined that something would come my way," he said.
"When I was asked to appear on the televised debate I said yes, but was immediately nervous. I didn't think it would necessarily lead directly to a job, but I thought it might highlight the position I was in.
"It was a fantastic feeling when I was offered the job of Trainee Sales Executive, following my conversation with Robert. My first week has been really good and I've learnt a lot already.
"The future looks really bright now and I would urge anyone looking for a job to stay motivated and to grab any opportunities with both hands. Whether you think it might lead to employment or not, you never know who you might meet."
Mr Forrester added: "When I first met James I couldn't believe he didn't have a job. He was very polite and extremely personable.
"Although the motor industry is not his background he certainly possesses the qualities that we look for in the business.
"Appearing on television was a daunting experience for James, as it would be for anyone. I was impressed with the way he conducted himself with integrity and confidence and he spoke to me with obvious enthusiasm and determination about seeking work.
"James is now on a training programme, which will see him learn several different aspects of the business. I wouldn’t say that James was lucky to find a job; I think he made his own luck by following any avenue he could to find work. It was his clear determination which led me to offer him the opportunity to join Bristol Street Motors and I hope this is the start of a long and successful career."