Graham joined the Street League Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire Academy as part of the April Stage 3 group. Graham was referred to Street League by the JCP Kilmarnock and had spent more than 2 years unemployed.

During his time out of work, Graham struggled with low self-esteem, literacy issues and criminal convictions, which were impacting his ability and motivation to return to work. As well as these barriers, Graham was also acting as a carer for his deaf partner and looking after his 2 young daughters.

Graham integrated well with the rest of the Academy very quickly, in both progression workshops and football sessions. It was, however, during the individual tasks that the barriers which Graham faced became clear. Graham would struggle to concentrate during the workbook sessions and would often become disruptive to the group.

On this, he said: “When we had to do our workbooks I hated it as my mind would go blank and I couldn’t think about what I was doing. It took me a little while, but after working with the Street League team they reassured me that it was fine to take my time, as well as work on my own, if I felt more comfortable. I began to feel more confident doing my workbook and after a few weeks I was more relaxed and enjoyed contributing to the group more when completing the workbooks and during the planning of the community event.”

An opportunity with local employer, Fergusons Bakery, presented itself to Graham after a successful CV drop. Having successfully secured a four-week work placement with the bakery as part of the Academy programme, Graham was offered a full-time position.

Nick Dillon, Head of HR at Fergusons Bakery, said: “Graham has been a fantastic addition to the team, so much so that we couldn’t bear to lose him.”