When Steven came to us, he had been out of work for quite a long time, over a year, and had not been doing very well looking for or applying for work by himself. He had not gained any qualifications from school, but had done an introduction to construction course at college and completed the first part of his CSCS card. Steven had been attending Princes Trust but had not been successful in gaining employment at the end of his course with them. He had quite a negative and judgmental view of them, due mostly to the fact that he had not gained employment. This was the first indication we got from him that he was quite judgmental of other people and certain jobs etc. His previous employment was quite sporadic and mainly hands-on, physical work. He had worked for the carnival, with his dad, in a cash and carry and also for Pleasureland in Arbroath a sort of permanent carnival. The reason that Steven gave for these not being sustainable was that they were seasonal. After several chats with Steven, we felt that his biggest barrier to work was his attitude. He seemed to think that he was too good for a lot of jobs and also seemed that he thought he should be handed a job as opposed to going out and actually looking for one for himself.

Steven was referred to us from Princes Trust where he had been completing a course, including the Introduction to Construction that he did at the college through PT. He attended our street sports taster sessions before joining our stage 3 academy and we found him to be quite a loud, obnoxious individual at first, he constantly interrupted and was rude to staff. When we started the academy, all Steven wanted to do was play football, despite it having been explained to him that it was a fitness/employability academy. He didn’t engage well in the workshops at the start, again giving the impression that he was somehow above it or did not need any help. He did enjoy the fitness sessions pretty quickly and had personal goals of losing weight and getting fitter. He was keen to be working as he has a fiancé and young child that he wanted to be able to support better, however when it came to actually applying for jobs he wasn’t so keen. We spent a lot of time one to one with Steven trying to get down to what he actually wanted to be doing and also keeping it realistic with him; for example, he really wanted labouring work but as he hadn’t finished his CSCS, it was unlikely he would be able to get work without it.

Doing the Step to Work qualification really helped Steven have something to focus on. He really took the initiative with the qualification and out a lot of effort into it. The result was one of the best sessions of the academy that everyone enjoyed and was able to participate in.  Steven learned some humility and played to his strengths, rather than do something really complicated he did a simple football drill session and did it really well. I think this was around the time that he started to consider that he really needed to take whatever job that he could and make the best of it. He also started to settle into the academy a lot better and be less disruptive. During the qualification and the academy, we realized that Steven has natural leadership qualities and so we tried to encourage this in as many positive ways as we could. Steven is a very confident young man but only in his comfort zone, so it was really good for him to get out of it and see that he could do really well if he put in the effort and really tried. Our main focus with Steven over the academy was to work on his attitude and help him develop into a more employable person who could step into any role. 

In week 5 of our academy, Steven interviewed for a position at Ravensby Glass and was successful and started working there a few days later after accepting a 46-hour contract. He was really happy about getting the job and was looking forward to doing something nice with his young family. When I visited to do his 8-week review it was just great to see him, he seemed like a completely different person. He was so positive about the job and his situation and was really happy as he was learning so quickly, he had now been asked to train up new starts. He even said he had taken my advice and was stretching every morning before work and every evening so as not to hurt his back and so that he was able to do his job more effectively and move about easier – this was really good to hear as we were never sure how much of what we said to him he was actually taking on board.

He has since left this job and started in a sales role where he is now training to become a team leader – leadership qualities showing through! He is very happy and has booked and paid off a holiday for him and his family.

“Street League is different because they focus on getting you into work rather than messing around.”

Author: Erin Kish, Youth & Community Coach, Dundee