Len is from Middlesbrough and at the age of 20 he had never worked. There had been a number of difficult situations in his family that had left him unfocused and he felt that emotionally he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to work. Len was refereeing in local leagues and after a few weeks of being with Street League, he broke his ankle while taking part in a charity match. This injury brought into focus how important it was for Len to find a job and how far away he felt from being ready for work.

Due to his injury, it was difficult for Len to seek work and so we extended his time with Street League. While he was injured we focussed on employability and sports theory, encouraging Len to take a lead in the classroom, supporting other learners and presenting work back to the group. Working with other young people Len had the opportunity to consider different industries and he was able to see real examples of other people on the course overcoming their barriers and returning to work.

Once Len recovered we were able to discuss work experience opportunities with Len. We had an opportunity for the front of house work with a new restaurant called Fork in the Road. The manager said that he needed somebody who could present themselves well and would have a range of people skills to deal with the variety of customers they would be working with. The employer asked for assertiveness, good communication skills, the ability to deal with different people in different ways a sense of humour and attention to detail. Len had never considered hospitality and when we first mentioned the role he was nervous about applying. We discussed the skills required with Len and the similarity to the skills for a good referee. This helped to convince Len and he agreed to go forward for the work experience.

Len on placement at Fork in the Road

Len was an immediate success in the role. Having a job, even if it was on a work experience basis has a massive effect on his self-confidence and his transferable skills quickly came to the fore. The employer sang his praises and said that if he had an opportunity he would take Len on in the future.

Len returned to Street League for aftercare support. He had enjoyed his placement and was now very interested in a career in hospitality. He didn’t have to wait long though as two weeks after his placement the Fork in the Road were in touch again. They were so impressed by Len that they had approached apprenticeship providers and they wanted Len to be their first apprentice.

As a result of attending Street League Len was able to find an apprenticeship in an industry that really suits him. He was able to identify life skills that he already had that would transfer to the workplace and use these strengths to secure himself a job. Street League helped Len to see that he had those skills and provided him with the opportunity to demonstrate these to an employer. Len took that opportunity and we wish him well with his apprenticeship.

Len has also resumed his refereeing and has been able to balance this well with his new job. 

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