Chris, aged 20 from Dundee came to us to find work after having problems at his previous place of employment. He had done a stage 2 academy with us in the past and so he was confident coming to us as he had success in the past. The job that he was having trouble in was actually the one he had secured on the past academy. Chris had not engaged well in school and his highest level of qualification held was level SQCF 4. He had only been out of employment for a few weeks and was already job hunting himself as he does not like to be without a paycheck and has a young family to support. He was clear from the start that he would do any work if it enabled him to be bringing money in for his family. He was approached by ourselves to see if he would be interested in a stage 3 academy and signed up straight away because he had got a job with us before and so was confident that we would be able to support him again. His previous employment had come to an end due to disciplinary action because he had problems with the staff based in HR. There was not much that seemed apparent that would be holding him back from employment, rather just that perhaps his attitude was holding him back from sustaining employment. However, he had held his previous job for a good amount of time.

Initially, when Chris joined our stage 3 academy he was quite quiet and reserved. He wasn’t sure about interacting with the other young people on the course although, the other young people all knew each other previously and so he may have felt that he was the odd one out. The other young people did their best to include him and through group work and especially the fitness sessions we saw a massive change in Chris over the weeks. He really came out his shell and became part of the group and was comfortable and confident communicating with the other young people. Chris was proactive with his job hunting straight from the get-go, applying for any jobs that he was qualified to do and spending time out with academy applying for work. He was never fussy about what type of work he would do and straight away signed himself up for a recruitment day with ABP slaughterhouses. As a result of the recruitment day, Chris was fast-tracked for an interview and very quickly was offered a butchery apprenticeship which he accepted.

Meanwhile, on the academy, Chris was doing his Steps to Work qualification which involved leading part of a fitness session. Chris was very engaged in the fitness sessions and keen to learn more in depth about the different exercises and effects on the body. When it came to delivering his fitness session I was extremely impressed with Chris. He had planned a really good session, with some exercises that he had learned at boxing. His communication skills during the session were excellent and he was encouraging and motivational. It was great to see how much he flourished in this role and how much effort he had put into the tasks. I would say that the fitness aspect of the course through the SQA qualification was what really helped Chris the most. He took the initiative from the start and didn’t need much help and as a result, it boosted his confidence a lot.

For Chris to secure a butchery apprenticeship was really great as he would learn a trade and also get back into employment. He started with ABP in Perth on 03/08/18 and started out in the boning section where he learned very quickly and was moved on to learning various other skills in a short space of time. He also gained a qualification in food hygiene which is transferable into other places of work. He says that he quickly made friends with a group of guys and has been car sharing up and down to Perth with one of them.

As a result of attending the stage 3 academy, Chris was able to get a butchery apprenticeship working for ABP in Perth, he worked there for 9 weeks and then moved to a different Abattoir to learn a slightly different role. He is really happy in the industry that he found work in which he says makes such a difference to just working a job to pay the bills. Now he has a job which he really enjoys and is making decent money to support his family. He has said that he is still setting himself personal goals like gaining even more confidence. He has also sat and passed his driving test which is a big boost for him as he is able to take his kids out and also contribute to car sharing for work.

“Street League helped me with employability and my confidence.”   

Author: Erin Kish, Youth & Community Coach, Dundee