UPDATE - Read our 2020-21 Impact Report Find out more...

Dean’s story

From homeless to apprentice

“The programmes make you challenge yourself and develop the confidence and motivation to want to go on further with your life. I was able to build up the skills I would need for looking for and getting a job as well as keeping one.”

“I was homeless at 16. It was tough. I was alone and living on the streets.”

Dean left home and moved to Oban to escape the emotional and physical abuse he had suffered at the hands of his family since childhood. He soon became homeless and was unable to complete his school exams.

After moving to Glasgow, Dean was still homeless and facing a high risk of social isolation and long-term unemployment. It was here he was referred to Venture Trust’ Inspiring Young Futures programme. The personal development programme is designed for disadvantaged and often vulnerable young people and supports them to work on skills such as establishing trust, personal boundaries, consequential thinking, problem-solving, dealing with challenging situations, and responsibility and accountability. These life skills need to be acquired before long-term unemployment and the issues this brings can be tackled.

Dean’s past had denied him the opportunities or support to gain the necessary life skills, motivation or confidence to embark on further education or training. This led to a cycle of disengagement with the system, and no way of acquiring the skills required to gain employment.

“My situation weighed a lot mentally which increased my stress and anxiety levels. I was low on confidence and motivation. It would have been easy to just give up. But for me the main thing was to get out of being homeless, get a job and to have some control of my life.”

“I wasn’t sure if Venture Trust could help. But they explained what they could do and how with their support I could move towards changing my own situation.”

After a few months working with Venture Trust, Dean felt ready to start thinking about employability courses to help him progress into employment in the future. He took part in a four-week course which covered IT sessions, CV writing, budgeting skills, interview skills, self-presentation skills, and mock interviews. It also included a weekend away with practical work experience.

Armed with these skills Dean progressed to Venture Trust’s CashBack Change Cycle programme. The employability programme is funded by the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities which takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them to deliver activities and opportunities for disadvantaged young people.

The elements of the programme include employability sessions, bike construction and maintenance including workshop experience and a short wilderness residential that has work-related tasks, and biking. Participants learn about responsibility and getting up to be at a job Monday to Friday. They get to keep the bike they have built and use it for job hunting, accessing services, training, getting to work, and leisure.

“The programmes make you challenge yourself and develop the confidence and motivation to want to go on further with your life. I was able to build up the skills I would need for looking for and getting a job as well as keeping one.”

Dean is now working for Arnold Clark as a vehicle technician and has his own flat.

“My life has changed quite a bit and it’s pretty good.”

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