Sport can be used as a tool for both physical and mental change. That’s exactly why Street League’s sport for employability programme is having such a positive impact on young people all over the UK.

With football and dance-fitness acting as the hook, young people attend the rolling Academy programme to have a kick about or show off their best moves. From then on, the results can be dramatically positive, as being active is proven to increase mental health, which some of the young people who engage with Street League struggle to deal with on daily basis. That, alongside help finding employment, makes Street League’s formula a successful one.

With socio-economic barriers to employment getting in the way, unemployment can have a huge effect on the 16-24 year olds Street League aim to help. But those barriers can be broken down with some direction and support from Street League’s dedicated team of staff.

Interview skills, CV writing help, work experience placements and the opportunity to gain nationally recognised Maths and English qualifications, all alongside the power sport can have on an individual, mean the 1281 young people who got #movingintowork with Street League’s help in the last year show that the unique approach does work.

Below are some quotes from young people in Manchester and Glasgow who have benefitted from their time on the Academy programme.

Ainsley, a graduate from our dance-fit Academy in Glasgow, said: “My confidence went from 0-100 in a few weeks. The dance and football is really great because it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting in a classroom. I’ve made friends for life at Street League.”

Leo (pictured below), who arrived in the UK from Iran in 2013 and now works for the National Football Museum, said: “Everyone else rejected me. Street League was the only place to welcome me in when I didn’t speak English – they were so friendly. I trust them.”

Manchester Football Academy graduate, Chelsea, is loving her new-found confidence and feels she owes a lot to Street League’s team of staff. She said: “The course leaders were really helpful – they listened and were interested in what you actually wanted to do, rather than telling you.”

She continued: “I feel really positive – I’ve got so many more opportunities and I feel more confident in myself.”

Darren, who now works as a football coach after completing the football offering in Glasgow, feels Street League’s programme is like no other. He said: “It’s not just about jobs, Street League help with everything - personal life, advice when you need it, communication and socialising.”

Darren added: “You’re learning all these social skills without realising it. You think you’re just playing a normal game of football but it’s so much more than that.”

Glasgow graduate Steven is no longer daunted by what the future holds. He said: “There’s not really a time when I’m scared anymore because I’ve got all these people I can ask for advice.”

If you’d like to join a Street League programme near you sign-up here.