LEAVING the army left Barry Thomson struggling to find a new direction.

Landing an apprenticeship at City Building’s RSBi factory in Springburn helped him turn his life around.

The 39-year-old explains: “Being an ex-veteran, I didn’t think I’d get a chance to try something new again; I thought that ship had sailed for me.

“Going into an adult apprenticeship took a bit of getting used to, as I’m in classes with other apprentices the same age as my children, but six years in and I’m really enjoying it.”

Barry, who served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, is one of the team involved in our fantastic new room makeover competition.

In partnership with RSBi,City Building’s manufacturing facility, we are offering one lucky winner the chance to win a prize worth thousands of pounds – just in time for Christmas.

We have teamed up with the award-winning construction firm to reward an individual or community group going above and beyond to make a difference to other people’s lives.

It could be a kinship carer, looking after young children because their parents are unable to do so, in desperate need of a new kitchen in their home.

Perhaps you know of a local sports club for disabled children, which could really benefit from new changing rooms, or a children’s charity which needs a playroom?

Perhaps you would love to give a bedroom makeover to a young person who has overcome ill-health or adversity but dedicates his or her time to the community?

Whoever the winner is, he or she will benefit from the excellent skills and high quality craftsmanship of the team at RSBi, Europe’s largest supported business where around 150 employees have a disability.

For veteran Barry Thomson, the chance to learn new skills has been a fantastic boost. He joined the window factory when it opened in 2013. City Building and RSBi teamed up with the Glasgow Veterans Employment Programme, as part of a partnership with Glasgow’s Helping Heroes initiative which existed to help veterans back into the workplace.

“I’ve learnt so much, things I didn’t think I would learn at my age” he smiles. “The apprenticeship gives me the opportunity to work on challenging projects. I really feel as though RSBi have helped me adapt to civilian life, as well as giving me the chance to better myself.

He adds: “I’ve got three kids, two sons and a daughter, and my eldest is keen to take on an apprenticeship at City Building. He’s always rummaging around my tool box. I think he’s seen how much I enjoy it and wants to get involved.”

Anton Mooney, 25, joined RSBi straight from school eight years ago.

“I started on the SVQ programme, and now I am the youngest chargehand in the business, where I’m responsible for a team of 12,” he says.

“I didn’t particularly like school or college, but working at RSBi has given me the chance to develop my skills through a more hands-on approach. I like coming to work – it’s a nice environment and the team are really friendly and always offer their support if I ever need extra help.”

RSBi deliver a quality accredited vocational training programme to 35 pupils each year for students with additional educational needs from schools across the city.

Jack Lawson, 18, said: “I left Cardinal Winning School in June and was offered a job at RSBi in July. I started coming to RSBi a few days a week when I was still at school, and I knew that I wanted to work there full time.

“I always wanted to work in construction, and I wanted a practical job where I could learn new things.

“A lot of my friends from school went to college, but I knew that wasn’t the right path for me.

“I really like working at RSBi, the team make you feel at home straight away, and it’s helped that I knew a few people from school that also got apprenticeships, too.”

Sean Paul Gracie, also 18, agrees. “I was up against 35 other people who wanted an apprenticeship at RSBi, so I was really grateful when I was offered the job,” he says.

“I was made to feel at home from my very first day.

“I’ve been given lots of opportunities even in the first few months of working with RSBi. I’m about to take on a 10-week training course in sign language so that I can talk to some of the guys on site, which I never thought I would be able to do. I’m really looking forward to transforming someone’s bedroom – making people happy with their homes is what it’s all about.”

l To nominate someone who you think deserves a DIY makeover, please email marketing@eveningtimes.co.uk with your name and contact details, the name of the person or group you are nominating and details of why they deserve to win.

Alternatively, write to Room Makeover Competition,

Marketing Department, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB to arrive no later than October 22.