A man who found himself homeless and at rock bottom has managed to completely turn his life around, having gone from sleeping in an airport to training to become an aircraft engineer.
Lawrence, from London, had dreams of working within the aviation industry ever since he was a young child, when he would often go along to air shows.
But with a difficult time at school and no father figure to help keep him motivated, he eventually began to descend into a downward spiral.
Lawrence told LADbible: “Growing up, I had a lack of role models in my life – my dad was largely absent.
“School for me was a tricky time. Again, not having a dad around me to support me and a lack of stable upbringing affected me. I spent a lot of my education feeling frustrated and unfocused.
“The school itself was quite run-down and very under-funded. The other students were unmotivated and teachers didn’t seem very engaged. I tended to just get on with my own thing. We weren’t really encouraged to go to university, so I didn’t end up going.
“I left school with big dreams and ambitions to be an aircraft engineer, which started when I was a kid when I went to air shows. But without the means to get there, I ended up doing odd jobs just to bring money in.”
Seven years ago, Lawrence’s tenancy agreement expired and he had nowhere else to go, meaning he had to start sofa surfing with friends and family.
However, as time went on, he found himself with fewer and fewer places to turn to and ended up on his own.
Lawrence said: “For me, the problem wasn’t with getting work, it was more an issue with finding something stable. I ended up becoming a cleaner at an airport, but the job was more focused on survival and getting by, rather than doing something I really enjoyed.
“The whole experience ended up being really stressful. My income wasn’t consistent, and I didn’t have a fixed address at the time as I was sofa surfing. Sometimes I was even sleeping at the airport where I worked – just so I could get to work on time.
“In the end, I had less people to turn to and was on my own.”
“I would pay for a night in a hostel when I could but otherwise it would be sleeping at the airport or rough sleeping.”
“In the end, holding down the job with no home became too difficult so I had to give it up.”
Lawrence knew he needed to upskill himself, but was conscious that this takes not only time and money, but also stability – three things he didn’t have.
It was then that he stumbled upon Beam, an organisation that crowdfunds employment training for homeless people.
“I was able to crowdfund £4,449 from 228 members of the public so that I could train as a railway engineer,” he said.
“This is a great stepping stone and will give me the experience I need to eventually become an aircraft engineer – which is still the dream.”
“Because of my upbringing I never had anyone or anything to fall back on, but now I’m excited to pursue a skilled career I can take pride in, rather than just focus on survival.”
The bulk of the money raised for Lawrence paid for him to complete a Level 3 qualification in Railway Engineering Track Maintenance, something that will help as he continues working towards his dream of becoming an aircraft engineer.
The rest of the cash also paid for other several other courses, a laptop, a medical test, travel and more, setting him up with everything he needs to pursue a career he’s always yearned for.
Lawrence added: “I think my negative life experiences and lack of opportunities in life have made me even more determined not to be a failure.
“My children are the main reason I am so focused on getting myself back on my own two feet. They are why I am training, so I can get work and better myself.”
“Now that I’ve landed a job on the railway tracks, things have really started to turn around and I’m renting my own place. Sometimes all it takes is someone to give you a leg up and believe in you.”