Colwyn Bay retiree returns from South Africa, rejoins workforce to afford cost of living

A 63-YEAR-old who retired to South Africa has returned to the workforce in Conwy to afford the UK’s cost of living.

Born in Derby, John Buckley moved to Colwyn Bay in 1998 after meeting his now late wife in the Caribbean.

They got married in Kenya and later decided to retire to South Africa in 2010.

After living there for two years, his wife was diagnosed with cancer and died six weeks after her diagnosis.

Mr Buckley decided to return to North Wales in 2020. He struggled to find accommodation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but eventually found a long-term rental.

He said: “We started our lives together in Colwyn Bay, so it made sense for me to go back after she died.

“I couldn’t stay in South Africa anymore. I no longer felt safe there with the political climate, and it just wasn’t the same without my wife.”

Despite being retired for 12 years, Mr Buckley needed to return to work as his pension and that of his late wife’s didn’t meet the UK’s cost of living.

He came across Working Wales, the plus-16 service delivered by Careers Wales, and made an appointment at its Llandudno careers centre.

There, he had help with writing a CV, looking for job vacancies, and preparing for interviews.

He added: “I had absolutely no idea where to start. I hadn’t worked for over a decade, and I had no computer skills whatsoever.

“The support of my adviser, Sam Roberts, was invaluable. She really listened to me and helped me figure out what jobs to go for with my previous experience.”

Mr Buckley has since found a job as a porter at the A&E department of a hospital that he is looking forward to starting.

He had previously worked as a porter for more than six years before he climbed the career ladder at Capita and later retired.

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He said: “I always felt really motivated and confident after speaking with my adviser.

“If it wasn’t for Sam, I don’t know what I’d be doing. If I can get back into work after so long, anyone can. I can’t recommend Working Wales enough.”

His adviser, Sam Roberts, said: “Sadly, John isn’t the only one having to come out of retirement to meet the costs of living that are rapidly rising.

“It’s heart-breaking to witness, but I’m so glad I was able to help him find his feet again in a job that he loves.”

The Careers Wales Llandudno centre is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 4.30pm.

You can call 0800 028 4844 to book an appointment, or visit Careers Wales’ contact page for more ways to get in touch at: careerswales.gov.wales/contact-us.

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno