A HOMELESS dad-of-four has been helped back onto his feet and into a job, thanks to Mersey Gateway toll operator Merseyflow.

Following a relationship breakdown, Robert Probert, 33, from Runcorn, found himself with nowhere to live, out of work, and struggling to turn his life around.

Robert had been living at the Lighthouse Foundation, in Runcorn, for seven months and was volunteering at his local church when he spotted a poster for the Halton Enterprise Partnership (HEP) advertising a return to work course.

“I saw the poster and I thought it sounded like a really good opportunity to start somewhere brand new,” he said.

He signed up to Halton’s People into Jobs programme.

This allowed him to enrol on a six-week return to work course that provided him with a guaranteed interview with Merseyflow when completed.

After training and interview practice, he landed a job at their contact centre.

Robert’s prospects now look a lot brighter and he plans to start studying to be a pastoral care counsellor so he can help others.

And he is encouraging others looking for a job to follow in his footsteps.

Robert said: “I’m so grateful to Merseyflow for giving me this opportunity and the flexibility they’ve shown me.

“After I got the job I was able to get myself back on my feet. The team I work with is great. We get the job done but have fun at the same time.”

Following the success of the HEP scheme Merseyflow now employs 180 people, with 95 per cent of its employees living in Halton.

People are given help with interview skills and and advice on preparing and submitting a CV.

They also complete a six-week customer service course and are provided with maths, English and computer skills.

Merseyflow has hired more than 50 people who have completed the course.

Beatriz Fuentes, HR Manager at Merseyflow’s parent company, emovis, said: “It’s the early stages of the project and we still have a long way to go to implement everything we want for our team members, but already we’re seeing lots of success stories like Robert.

"Since we started we have recruited 180 employees, some from other areas of the workforce and some from long-term unemployment. More than 95 per cent of our employees live in the Halton area."

Alison Bowen, from Halton Council’s employment, learning and skills division, said the council had worked in partnership with Merseyflow to design and deliver learning programmes for local residents.

She said: “Participants in the HEP programme have developed skills to place them in the best possible position to apply for vacancies and to be successful in securing employment with emovis.

“Individuals have been provided with information, advice and guidance through a range of programmes to further support them into their new jobs.”

The Halton Employment Partnership (HEP) is a Halton Council-led strategic partnership that supports local businesses.

Merseyflow operates the tolling system and gantry on the new bridge and, once it is refurbished, will operate tolls on the neighbouring Silver Jubilee Bridge.

The company offers employees a diverse work environment and is committed to providing equal employment opportunities and a range of benefits to staff.

For a full list of vacancies visit merseyflow.co.uk/vacancies or email: recruitment@merseyflow.co.uk