A young father-of-three, who applied for more than 1,000 jobs while he was unemployed, is finally back in work thanks to a jobs partnership between Subway’s sandwich stores and Ingeus, which delivers the Government’s Work Programme in West Yorkshire.

Former mechanic Lee Edwards, 24, from Yeadon, spent the last two years applying for every vacancy he could find, and wrote letters to companies throughout the county in the hope that he might get noticed.

He lost his previous job when the business he worked for ceased trading, but he was hopeful the skills he had acquired would stand him in good stead when it came to finding another job.

“I quickly discovered it wasn’t that easy, and that I was just one of thousands of young people who really wanted to work but could not get noticed,” he said. “Being out of work became a vicious circle of relentlessly applying for jobs but being knocked back continuously. What little self-esteem I still had just disappeared.”

Mr Edwards was referred to Ingeus for specialist support and was helped by a dedicated team in Leeds.

He learned new techniques to use when applying for jobs, where to look for the vacancies that really interested him, and how to give the best impressions during job interviews. “I want to be a role model for my children – I want them to know that working is part of life, and that earning a wage through your own efforts is very important,” he said. “Ingeus gave me back my confidence and that’s when I started to believe in myself once again.”

Ian and Lara Dawes, who own Guiseley’s Subway store and two others in Seacroft and in Horsforth, have previously used Ingeus’s free recruitment services. They now employ six former Work Programme candidates, including Mr Edwards, and as their business grows even more, they plan to create more opportunities.

“Traditionally we have recruited through websites, but the availability of people to work in our stores has always been sporadic,” said Mr Dawes.

“Through Ingeus, we have access to job-ready people all year round. Each Work Programme candidate we see has already been assessed as suitable for the roles we offer and they know what we expect of them. That’s a great advantage for us.”

Ingeus’s Catherine Cooke said: “As a result, six people who were previously unemployed now have jobs. Lee can once again provide for his family and has regained his self-respect.

“For Subway, it means they have a reliable and motivated team of employees who really want to do well.”