When I left school with low grades due to bad attendance and hanging with the wrong crowds, I had no hope in finding a suitable job. Years had flown by and claiming job seekers allowance was unfortunately beginning to be a regular occurrence. However, it was there at the job centre I met Street League coach Terry who was handing out flyers for a 8 week course Street League was running. I instantly connected with the way in which Street League used sport, specifically football, to help young people who lack the qualifications and/or experience necessary to gain a work placement.

I was delighted to be picked for the course after a selection process and enjoyed every day. The routine was in the classroom in the mornings and activities in the afternoons, along with liaising with our employability coordinator at the time, Rachel at the end of the day. We would arrive early and discuss various topics that ranged from health and fitness to employability.

The football in the afternoon helped to develop basic transferable skills such as teamwork and professionalism. I also volunteered to coach football to young children roughly between the ages of 10-16 at the Calthorpe Project where the Street League North East academy was based. This was also instrumental in building other skills such as the ability to lead a team, communication and organisational skills. In addition, we were taken to the law firm Reed Smith LLP for workshop sessions aimed at improving our interview techniques and tailoring our CVs.

We were often visited by high profile individuals to hear their experiences and advice, which at times was almost surreal. The highlight of my time at Street League was when we played a five-a-side match with Lennox Lewis and Alan Hansen at the Calthorpe Project.

After graduating from the course I applied successfully for a 2 week voluntary work placement at TM Lewin which Street League helped to facilitate though their partnership with the retail store. This helped a lot as I received great feedback which only increased my confidence. Upon finishing this work placement I received a call from Rachel informing me that there was a position open at Reed Smith LLP for post room clerk. I was shortlisted for an interview but unfortunately because I had no experience they could not take me on. However, they wanted to help in some way and offered me instead a temporary paid one month work experience placement/internship. This extended for a further two months at the end of which I was approached by the records supervisor who after hearing great feedback, offered me a full time work placement to which I emphatically said yes!

Four years on as a records clerk and I am now also studying part time with the Open University for a bachelor of law degree. This has all been possible due to the wonderful work Street League did with me and continues to do with others week in week out for young people across the UK, which is provide a platform for young people to build their aspirations and assist them in finding a suitable work placement.