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First participants experience life changing effects of Venture Trust’s Reaching Higher Programme

Venture Trust, the charity that supports young disadvantaged people to make positive changes in their lives, has joined forces with Who Cares? Scotland, and Move On to develop the employability programme, Reaching Higher.

The programme, funded through the Queen’s Young Leaders Grant scheme administered by Comic Relief, is designed to help care experienced, unemployed young people between 16 and 29 to gain skills, and work experience, and, with support, to enter sustained employment.

Reaching Higher offers a vital extension to the work that Venture Trust already undertakes in its Inspiring Young Futures personal development programme. Inspiring Young Futures, funded primarily by The Big Lottery Fund, Inspiring Scotland and a number of UK trusts and foundations, supports disengaged young people, to gain the skills needed to achieve their goals, grow in confidence and stability. The Reaching Higher programme will take those individuals who have reached a point where they are ready to get into employment, and give them the opportunity to shine.

Nicole Blain is one of the first participants to have been enrolled on the Reaching Higher programme, following her involvement with Venture Trust’s Inspiring Young Futures programme. Nicole is 19 years old but has had a turbulent past, with lack of support leading to homelessness, subsequent unhealthy relationships, unemployment and substance abuse. Her life was in turmoil and she was living with a friend when the opportunity came for the Reaching Higher programme. She started a four week ‘pre-employability’ course in October 2015, and was then chosen to start a one-year traineeship with Who Cares? Scotland, as an Events & Membership Admin Assistant.

Andy Hardie, Senior Development Worker at Venture Trust, commented, “During the course of the Reaching Higher pre-employability training, the change in Nicole was amazing. At the start of the four week course she was quite shy. She was anxious and somewhat distant during the first couple of days, but nearing the end of the first week Nicole became more at ease within the group and also with the facilitators. She bonded really well with her peers, becoming more of a leader within the group especially during the teambuilding activities.”

He continues, “Nicole opened up to me regarding her anxiety and how it had the potential to hold her back in achieving her goals. In doing this, she grew more confident, and spoke openly and honestly when talking about personal events. Nicole was a pleasure to work with and has masses of potential. I believe that when she puts her mind to do something she will achieve it.”

Now in her role at Who Cares? Scotland, Nicole’s life has turned around; she has a sustainable home, a purpose, and has set goals that she wants to achieve. Not only that, she has gained a great deal of confidence and her life is much more balanced; and there is hope.

Nicole comments, “Venture Trust changed me as a person. I used to be rebellious and now I want to knuckle down and do something really positive with my life. The Reaching Higher programme has given me a lot of support and skills that I never knew I had. It has allowed me to think about my dreams; before I would never have aspired to go to university and now I know I will!”

For further details of the Venture Trust’s Reaching Higher programme, click here.

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