James joined the Street League Academy in Manchester after speaking to Street League staff at his local Job Centre. James loved football and felt the Academy would provide him with the support he needed to move his life and career forward. Although he had previously worked in customer service, he had been unemployed and unable to find work for over 12 months.

James was fully committed to the Academy programme, arriving early every day and becoming a leader within the group. He particularly enjoyed working towards gaining his coaching qualifications, and really impressed staff with his leadership skills when he took on a lead role in delivering a sports day to 300 local primary school children.

Armed with his updated CV and new found focus, James quickly progressed into a job and is now a qualified engineer.

James continues to work closely with Street League in a volunteer capacity, which is helping him further his coaching experience. He was also invited to speak at Street League graduation events and most recently, at the Street League 10th anniversary celebrations where he was interviewed by the BBC reporter Matt Slater in front of 100 people.

James is now looking to set-up a coaching company along with a fellow Street League participant. Speaking about how Street League has helped, James said: “Life was hard until Street League gave me a chance to change my life. It helped motivate me to pursue a career and nine months later I am an engineer and my partner is expecting our first child any day.” 

Listen to him speak to BBC Radio 5 Live host, Victoria Derbyshire, live on air.