North East punk who thought 'striking look' was employment hurdle secures new job

Punk Simon Harris secures Believe Housing job. <i>(Image: BELIEVE HOUSING)</i>
Punk Simon Harris secures Believe Housing job. (Image: BELIEVE HOUSING)

A North East punk who feared his “striking look” would become an obstacle stopping him from employment has secured a brand-new job after the tragic loss of his wife in late 2023.

Simon Harris, 56, from Peterlee, has secured a new job at Believe Housing, 17 years after he departed as a DHL station manager at Newcastle Airport.

Leaving his job to become a full-time career for his late wife, Sylvia, Simon will now return to work in his first-ever admin role with landlord Believe Housing.

The Northern Echo: Punk Simon Harris secures Believe Housing job.
The Northern Echo: Punk Simon Harris secures Believe Housing job.

Punk Simon Harris secures Believe Housing job. (Image: BELIEVE HOUSING)

Mr Harris said: “I’ve been a punk since I was nine but I had bills to pay, so I used to look like everybody else.

“When I became my partner’s carer, I had the freedom to look the way I want.

“I thought I’d have longer with Sylvia so never envisaged going back to work, and I never imagined myself in an office job.

“I was a little bit worried about people judging me, but was really surprised how accepting everyone at Believe Housing is.”

Despite the fears that his unique look of red mohawked hair and tattoos would be a barrier for employers, Simon was offered a six-month position with no need for any prior administrative experience and is “made up with the opportunity”.

He added: “The role suits me exactly. It fits with my belief in giving something back — the punk community in this region does a lot of fundraising.

The Northern Echo: Punk Simon Harris secures Believe Housing job.
The Northern Echo: Punk Simon Harris secures Believe Housing job.

Punk Simon Harris secures Believe Housing job. (Image: BELIEVE HOUSING)

“And part-time flexible working, with lots of learning and plenty of support, means starting something completely new doesn’t feel like being thrown in the deep end.

“If I can come into an office environment, I think anybody can and I think it's brilliant that believe housing is such an inclusive employer and is finding different ways to support tenants.”


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The role is offered exclusively to tenants as part of a collaborative initiative by social housing providers to improve employability in the region and was created as part of the New Start scheme.

In his new role, Simon helps ensure that contractors and suppliers impact their communities across County Durham which is in line with his values.

He said: “(The job) fits with my belief in giving something back – the punk community in this region does a lot fundraising.”