Duncan begins a new career after a severe injury


Getting back into work at any age can be a challenge, but when faced with a severe injury – even with more than 20 years’ experience working on oil rigs – there can be additional barriers to overcome.   

Duncan Etherington, 56, was unemployed for 18 months because of a back injury and had been struggling to return to the labour market when he joined the Restart Scheme in November 2022. 

His back injury impacted the type of roles he could apply to, and he felt unsure about his strengths and limitations. Duncan, from Doncaster,  found himself not only dealing with these new physical challenges, but mental health issues as well, including struggles with depression that negatively affected his motivation.   

He met with his dedicated Employment Advisor, Yvonne Price, who referred him to one of our Community Partnership Network members, Down2U Physiotherapy Ltd, for additional support.  

Over a seven-week period Duncan attended physiotherapy sessions, both on his own and within a group, teaching him valuable techniques he can use at home to help tackle his physical pain. He also began meditation and mindfulness sessions to combat his low mood.  

Highlighting the positive impact of his physiotherapy, Yvonne explained: “Duncan is more focused and has his drive back to gain employment. He is more determined to continue with the pain management skills he’s learnt to improve his physical and mental health.”  

Yvonne also helped Duncan transform his CV, provided interview coaching, and supported Duncan in completing job applications. With a newfound understanding of his strengths, and knowledge of how to manage his pain, Duncan began looking for local roles and soon secured a job in a toy store.   

Reflecting on his progress, Duncan said: “I feel so much better in myself since joining the Restart Scheme. I can now manage my pain and have reduced the medication I was using. I now know what I’m capable of and can’t wait to move forward.”     

Adam Sui, Director of Down 2 U Physiotherapy, saw Duncan’s progress first-hand. He commented: “Duncan completed an intensive seven-week work and pain programme. Even though he was one of the older participants in the group, he inspired everyone else to push themselves further. Not only did he show up to every session, but he would also be the first to help others and would put into practice the concepts he learnt about overcoming his long-term physical pain to achieve what he wants in life.   

“He is now able to exercise daily and understand that pain doesn’t mean stopping everything. He can now start to live on his terms whether that be socially or working. Well done, Duncan.”     

Speaking about her pride, Yvonne said: “He has achieved so much already, and I feel so proud of how far he has come and the positive changes he has made.”

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