Recruitment agency wins award after helping Northampton man go from homeless to employed in six months

One of the bosses bought Andrejis a bike after they realised he had to walk two hours to get to work

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 10:30 am

A recruitment agency in Northampton has won an award for helping a homeless man find employment and piece his life back together.

Andrejis Kaunietis first visited Encore, which has a branch on College Street off Gold Street, in April this year.

According to the divisional manager at the branch - Marisa Baker - Andrejis had his belongings in bags and was sleeping on the street.

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Andrejis Kaunietis and Marisa Baker.

Marisa, who had only been in her role with Encore for three days, sat Andrejis down, offered him a coffee and spoke about how she could help him.

Andrejis was signposted to separate organisations to help with housing and other issues, and Marisa found him work.

Forty-six-year-old Andrejis, said: “I walked into the Encore office on April 15, 2021 and it’s the day that changed my life.

“I once had a wife, a house, a job… and it went, just like that.

Andrejis and the Encore team.

“I had my belongings and nowhere to go.

“Marisa offered me a hot drink and she talked to me. She offered me an opportunity to work… I didn’t believe anyone would do this.

“I started work and had to walk almost two hours before my shift… Marisa called me to the office.

“The boss bought me a bike so I could cycle to work. I was speechless but was thankful. I didn’t understand why people were being so kind.”

Marisa added: “When Andrejis walked into our branch he was in a bad way. He had everything but for one reason or another he lost control of it all.

“We got him work and accommodation, we got him to the doctors and we helped with his confidence and self-esteem after he’d been isolated from society for so long.

“There were bumps in the road, but a big part of this was not giving up and saying he deserves this opportunity.

“He’s now on the road to some sort of normality.”

Andrejis is now on the brink of securing a permanent contract at his job and is extremely grateful to the recruitment team who helped him piece his life back together.

He continued: “It hasn’t been easy, I have almost ruined my opportunity more than once, but Marisa keeps fighting and believing in me.

“She has encouraged me to seek help for my mental health, which wasn’t easy for me.

“It’s not everyday you find people who want to help. I am so grateful I found Marisa at Encore and her team.”

For their work with Andrejis, the Encore team scooped the ‘Chairman’s Special Award’ at this year’s Northamptonshire Logistics Forum awards.

Marisa added: “As humbling as it is, all we did was open a door of opportunity. Andrejis has done the hard work.

“I was brought up in care and I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life or career.

“I got into warehousing and picking and packing and then I got into recruitment.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping people and showing them that they deserve an opportunity and it is a personal mission of mine to help and support people.”

Marisa and her team at Encore also have other initiatives in the pipeline for the near future to help the wider community.