When I left school with low grades due to bad attendance and hanging with the wrong crowds, I had no hope of 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 jobcentre I met Street League coach Terry who 
was handing out flyers for an eight-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 Rachel our employability coordinator at the time, 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 and 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 two-week voluntary work placement at TM Lewin which Street League helped to facilitate through 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 a 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!

As a records clerk, I then also studied part-time at the Open University for a Bachelor of Laws 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 across the UK, which provides a platform to build their aspirations and assist them in finding a suitable work placement.

****UPDATE****

We’re delighted to announce that Clark has now been promoted to a paralegal at Reed Smith. Congratulations from all of us at Street League. Clark is a great example of how we support our young people beyond their graduation from our academy. Five years on, and we’re still in regular contact with Clark and his role as a youth ambassador for the charity also gave him the opportunity to meet Laurent Koscielny at the Epic Foundation Gala event in 2017.