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Featured Image Credit: Jack Twigg/PA
A former prisoner has shared his incredible story about overcoming adversity, having found his criminal record held him back from landing jobs - only to join retailer Timpson as an apprentice and get promoted to branch manager within just six months.
Jack Twigg (@JackTwigg4), 30, had actually been working on the other side of the bars after joining the prison service in his early 20s.
He was on his way to becoming a prison officer when he began to suffer from ill mental health, eventually reaching such a low place that he got into his car and crashed it along a main road - a choice made 'in a bad mind-space' that would change the course of his life forever.
Twigg, who is from Manchester, told LADbible: "I had bad injuries from it. I was critical, I had bad head injuries, a lot of breaks.
"I can't tell anybody the reason why I was driving the way I was, or what my intention was. I just know it was a dark period in my head and I woke up in hospital."
Following the head-on collision, Twigg was charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and was sentenced to 28 months in prison - with the option of being released on tag after 10 months if he maintained good behaviour.
After being released towards the end of 2017, Twigg was working any job he could find at the time - knowing his criminal record and the injuries he suffered in the crash would affect his prospects.
While working in temporary roles to pay the bills, he said he was 'applying for job after job after job', telling us he probably went for around 200 positions without any luck.
He then heard about Timpson, which has grown a reputation as one of the largest employers of ex-offenders in the UK, with approximately 10 percent of its workforce made up of people who have criminal convictions.
Twigg decided to reach out to Chief Executive James Timpson directly, and was invited to come in for an interview in autumn 2020 - before finding himself in a shop as an apprentice a week later.
Within months, he had impressed his employer so much that he was ready to be handed his very own branch, marking the milestone with a now-viral tweet:
6 months ago I was struggling to find work with a criminal record. Timpson offered me a trainee role which changed my life. Today I've been told from April 12th I'm officially a branch manager with my own shop!! I can't wait to get started and kick on as a manager! :D #proud
- Jack Twigg (@JackTwigg4) March 31, 2021
Twigg continued: "The one question they want to know is when you start, is, 'What you want to achieve with Timpson?'
"And I think I did say at the very start, 'If the next step of working for Timpson is having your own branch, I'm going to get a branch!'
"I certainly didn't expect it to be as quick as it was, but I think it's just that work ethic that they liked - if you get your shifts, you turn up to them, you be the best customer service employee they have, just work with a smile on your face and do the job that's expected."
Twigg said he was always encouraged to learn on the job, adding: "You've got a manager guiding you along and helping you with skills."
He explained that there had been hold-ups in the process, as he'd had to isolate and even went on furlough for a while, but was able to race through his training to be allowed to covered shops on his own within just 10 weeks.
Twigg now plans to put what he's learnt into practice as manager of his very own branch, and hopes there's plenty more scope to progress within the business.
But along with forging a new career for himself, Twigg also hopes that by sharing his story he can help 'break the stigma of mental health and prison rehabilitation', especially for people who don't have family or a support network on the outside.
He even blogs about prison life at Life On Both Sides Of The Cell Door, sharing insight to the two different perspectives he's experienced while also trying to fight the corner for ex-offenders.
"It's the stigma that they've been attached with - it's sad that a lot of people do still have that attachment," Twigg said.
"The lads who - much like I did - want that opportunity, they are going to work for you, they will give their all because they actually want to change."
He added: "That's why the support of companies like Timpson needs to expand to other companies, I think."