‘Never give up on finding work, whatever age you are’, is one man’s inspirational message after finding employment thanks to Medway Council.

Kevin Tilley, 60, has become one of the first people to get a permanent job through the new Employment and Skills Centre on the Rochester Riverside development.

Kevin, from Strood, took just three weeks to find a job as gatekeeper for Denne Construction at the site after being referred by Job Centre Plus to the Employ Medway Advice Centre in Chatham.

He had been unemployed for 16 months and became increasingly disheartened after sending 400 applications to employers with no reply, before Employ Medway intervened.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to be working – I was by no means ready to retire and love having that reason to get up in the morning and get a job done” he said.

Kevin has turned his hands to many trades in the past, from work as a Community Officer to working in the Royal Navy and running his own business selling swimming pools. After losing his job through injury, he found that despite his vast experience, he was having little luck with applications before Employ Medway’s help.

“When you’re in your late ‘50s and ‘60s like me, you get disheartened, particularly when companies can get three young lads between say 18 and 24 to work for them instead. But I knew how capable I was and wasn’t prepared to give up, no matter how many applications I had to hand out” Kevin said.

Kevin, whose role includes supervising site personnel and vehicles and handling public enquiries at the entrance to the regeneration development in Rochester, feels Employ Medway’s caring, proactive approach can appeal to everyone.

“I’m so thankful to Employ Medway for all the work that was done to help find me a job. My advisors were always on the phone to me giving me regular support and registering with Employ Medway was much easier and quicker than other agencies.

“It’s a good service with great conditions and anything I needed they helped me with, so I’d really recommend it to anyone” he said.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth, Cllr Jane Chitty, said: “Kevin never gave up hope and through his determination and our ability to assist him, has found his way back into work.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see Kevin back in the working environment and enjoying himself and I wish him every success for the future.”

Graham Brown, Managing Director, Denne said: “As part of Denne’s dedication to local employment and training, we will continue to work with Medway Council and The Hyde Group to provide excellent opportunities like this on the Rochester Riverside project. The Skills and Employment Centre provides the perfect way to develop new jobs and provide first class training opportunities for local tradesmen.”

The Employment & Skills Centre was launched on the Rochester Riverside site in December by The Hyde Group, Medway Council and Denne.

The centre supports people in Medway by delivering a range of activities including apprenticeships, local employment, work experience, school visits and site engagement.

“The skills centre gives young people great practical opportunities to work and ensures that local people get the opportunity to benefit from the regeneration project” Cllr Chitty added.