From volunteering to paid work, careers advice changes Tom's life Thomas Kennerley is 24 and from Lancaster. Tom was referred to the National Careers Service by his Work Coach after his mother and sister recommended he contact the National Careers Service as they both had such a positive experience with the service. A face-to-face appointment was arranged to give Tom support with his CV and to help him gain employability skills. Inspira, a leading career management and personal development organisation in Cumbria and Lancashire, delivers the National Careers Service in Lancaster and Morecambe, Preston and Cumbria. "I am a young man with Autism and Cerebral Palsy, with no experience of the world of paid employment," said Tom, "but because of contacting the National Careers Service, I've now secured a placement with the NHS." Tom's adviser, Pam Gell, showed him the range of careers resources available on the National Careers Service website. She also helped him to highlight his strengths and relevant skills, even though he had limited work experience. "I completed an employability course with Inspira, and a health professional course with Lancaster & Morecambe College," continued Tom, "and I also received 2-3 follow up telephone contacts with ongoing support." Tom left school early and became unwell but did manage to secure a voluntary position at Oxfam & CAB. Pam helped him with identifying transferable skills and showed him how he could apply for roles without direct experience "I always wanted to work in administration but didn’t know how to go about accessing the right role for me," Tom said. "The NHS will give me access to Occupational Health and offer the support I need to flourish and progress in my role. This process has allowed me to feel valued and recognised for my skills and determination. "I would encourage others to use the service as it’s been a positive step and a springboard to new opportunities. My advisor was really encouraging and supportive throughout. I would recommend the service to friends/colleagues and explain how the advice and guidance I received helped me to achieve my goals."