Over the summer, Cruise Liverpool teamed up with Strawberry Field on their Steps to Work Programme which aims to help young people in Liverpool with barriers to employment seek experience and gain new skills.
The Steps to Work programme is the foundation of the Steps at Strawberry Field programmes based onsite at Strawberry Field which is the iconic site immortalised by John Lennon and owned by The Salvation Army. Steps to Work offers employment, work experience, training and voluntary experience for people with barriers to work.
As part of this summer’s cohort, Cruise Liverpool welcomed Tom Mahon to their team for a two month placement at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
We sat down with Adele Murphy, Employment Development Coordinator from Strawberry Field, Tracy Birkett from Cruise Liverpool, Tom and his dad, Terry to find out all about Tom’s experience at the Cruise terminal as part of his Steps To Work Programme.
Adele – “Part of my job as an Employment Development Coordinator is to collaborate with like minded companies who share the same vision and values promoting Liverpool City Region as the City of Inclusion. My colleague Chris introduced me to Kate and the team at the Cruise terminal, I knew this was the placement for Tom.
I’ve worked with Tom for over a year now on the Steps programme. Not only has the tourism and hospitality sector been a keen interest for Tom but Kate and the team have been so friendly and receptive to helping Tom feeling supported. Their invested interest in offering Tom the right working environment and treating him as part of their team has been invaluable. Tom is delighted to have the opportunity to work at the Cruise Terminals and tells me frequently how much he loves his placement there.
Tom has been great, he knows exactly what he wants. Transport is his main passion and he said ‘Whatever it is, I want something to do with transport’. He was saying he was interested in travel, planes and cruises so we had a chat with Kate from the Cruise Liverpool team and we arranged for him to come to the Cruise Terminal to gain some work experience.”
Tom – “I’ve enjoyed it very much, I like meeting all the passengers and seeing the ships. I say ‘Hello, have you had a nice day? Then tell them how there’s not much not to like about Liverpool. Then I say ‘Bon Voyage’ to them.”
Adele – One thing I noticed about Tom is how good he is with people and customer service and how much he knows about Liverpool.
Tom – One of my favourite facts about Liverpool is that the Liver Birds on top of the Royal Liver Building are named Bella and Bertie. They say Bella faces the river to greet people arriving by boat and Bertie faces the city to make sure the pubs are open.’
Tracy – What’s your favourite part about being at Cruise Liverpool, Tom?
Tom – I like it all to be honest. I got to meet one of the deputy captains on a cruise ship. I got a picture with him and I was asking if he’d give us three blasts on the ship’s horn, and he agreed to do it so I could film it. The three horns mean they’ve had a great visit in Liverpool. I can’t see a reason for them to not give us three!
I’ve very much enjoyed being here. We’ve had people from all over the world come here. We’ve had people from America and German passengers too. It was a bit difficult talking to them but I came up with the idea to use Google Translate to work out how to say things in German. It’s a bit difficult to pronounce but with practice we should be okay. We tried it with a few passengers and it works.
Adele – You’ve also got a lot of knowledge on The Beatles as well, is that one of the reasons you came to Strawberry Field, because of the John Lennon connection?
Tom – I’m a big fan of the Beatles, that was one of the reasons I was glad to be able to go there but mainly because my parents thought it would be a good idea for me. I’ve certainly enjoyed being there.
Adele – What are you looking to do in the future after the Steps to Work Programme?
Tom – I might consider becoming a volunteer at the Cruise Terminal when I’m a bit older but for my full time job I’m probably going to become a store assistant.
Adele – That’s where your customer service skills come into it. You’re good with people, you’re really polite and you’re always there to offer help when needed, it’s the perfect job for you.
Tracy – Terry, from your side, what have you noticed about Tom and his experience at the cruise terminal?
Terry – It’s been a really positive experience for Tom. It’s exposed him to a different environment and different people. It’s helped to build up his skills and his confidence to hopefully pursue a future he’s eagerly awaiting. It’s been a credit to Strawberry Field to support him with his placement and a massive credit to Cruise Liverpool for being so proactive and supportive of Tom.
Adele – We’ve spoken about it before and the one thing he’s always said is how supportive the team are and how Tom has been seen as a valued member of the team at Cruise Liverpool. It’s a really important part of the experience we look for for our trainees.
Terry – The response and the welcome Tom has received from staff has been humbling to see and I know Tom has grown in confidence by mixing with people who value his input. That’s a massive plus from this placement and that builds on his work at Strawberry Field. It’s fabulous to see him grow into a confident young man with the help of Strawberry Field and organisations like Cruise Liverpool.