100th GiveGetGo Volunteer Lands Dream Job at Knowsley Safari Park

24 year-old animal lover Arron Toner, from Knowsley, has landed his dream job as a Steward at Knowsley Safari, after taking part in GiveGetGo, a programme run by Liverpool-based Transform Lives Company which connects unemployed people with employers.

Arron became the 100th participant in GiveGetGo when his housing provider, Knowsley Housing Trust, told him about GiveGetGo in April 2018 after a period of unemployment.

Since leaving school, Arron worked in a number of customer service roles, but always longed to be able to pursue his lifelong ambition of a career in animal care.

GiveGetGo helps people to take the necessary steps to start or return to work through 12-week volunteer placements with organisations across the city, including The University of Liverpool, Speke Hall and Everton in the Community. The project also creates encounters with employers through employer workshops, mock interviews, mentoring and where possible, guaranteed interviews.

A partnership between Knowsley Safari and Transform Lives Company meant that within just a couple of weeks of joining GiveGetGo, Arron was able to start a volunteering placement with the gardening team at Knowsley Safari, where he soon started to make a good impression.

At the same time, Arron benefited from weekly job-search sessions and a ‘Positive Workology’ employment coaching course, which helps people to develop the tools and the attitude to be successful in their job search. Arron was able to build his confidence and start to demonstrate his skills.

When Knowsley Safari advertised for the role of Team Member, Arron was encouraged to apply by the team at Knowsley who had been impressed with his performance and positive attitude since starting his voluntary placement. Arron was supported by GiveGetGo in his application and was subsequently offered a position as part of the Stewarding team.

In addition, social charity Catch22 has been able to provide Arron with funding to study a Level 3 qualification in Zoology, which will assist him in further pursuing his career in animal care.

Arron comments: “I’ve wanted to work with animals for a long time. I was bitten by a snake when I was younger and rather than putting me off them, it sparked a fascination in reptiles and I just wanted to learn more about these amazing creatures!

“I’m over the moon to be working at Knowsley Safari Park. It really is a dream come true and I wouldn’t be here without the brilliant support I’ve received. Now, I feel well placed to pursue my ambitions and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”

Tracy Fishwick, Managing Director of Transform Lives Company, said: “Arron is a shining example of the power of partnerships in action. By joining forces with Knowsley Housing Trust, Knowsley Safari and Catch22, we were collectively able to put together a package of bespoke support which has genuinely changed a life. Along with Arron’s incredible hard work and dedication, this has meant that in just a few short months, a pipedream has become a reality for Arron and we wish him every success in his career.”

Kathryn Parkinson, Human Resources Manager, Knowsley Safari, said: “We have had a fantastic start to our relationship with GiveGetGo. From the moment we met Arron at the volunteering information day, we could see he was the type of person we would look for at our own recruitment days and felt he would fit in well with our team.

“His attitude and work during his placement with us only verified this and we are delighted to have brought him on board to the Knowsley Safari team with our Stewarding team. It has been wonderful to offer this opportunity to Arron and we hope to be able to repeat this with another volunteer through GiveGetGo in the future.”