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William: Onwards and Upwards

From homelessness to employment and volunteering

William's story is a real example of the transformational changes that young people can make in their lives with the support of Venture Trust. William was referred to our Inspiring Young Futures from a homelessness project. Having moved to Scotland from his native England, William was feeling very isolated and cut off from any sources of support.

Gradually building a close relationship with his Venture Trust 'PDA' (outreach worker), William was encouraged to attend activities in his local community - getting to know other young people and building a more positive group of peers. As his confidence increased, William progressed to go on to attend a wilderness expedition, where two feet of snow made the experience even more challenging than usual! He coped well though, and rose to this extra challenge.

On his return, William's action plan had two main goals: To get away from his negative peer group and get into volunteering.

He began work on these goals straight away; finding his own tenancy and securing voluntary work with the WRVS. To keep progressing, William's PDA helped him find and sign up for BTCV's 10 week 'Forestry and Environmental Learning Programme'. A really exciting opportunity, Willie had the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of Forestry - taking (and successfully passing) exams in Environmental Conservation, Leadership Skills, First Aid at Work and Chainsaw Training.

“The week went well and it has been great fun. Really seemed to fly by. Worked at Nethercroy clearing vegetation from the pond. Saw some frogs and moved them away from the area we were working in” - (Willie)

Willie also had the chance to take part in a 5-day work placement with the Forestry Commission Scotland. He really enjoyed this week – and has been inspired to pursue a career in forestry as a result. William continues to stay in touch with his PDA and the other participants he met with Venture Trust, and will always ask his PDA for help when he's facing a tough situation, or needs extra guidance and support.

We're really pleased that Willie grabbed the opportunity with both hands, and has really been able to transfer the skills he developed with Venture Trust into this new work environment.

To find out more, you can download the BTCV report on Willie's programme. Well done Willie!

Photos by Andrew MacDonald, Exhibit Scotland

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