Lee’s Journey

Lee was a looked after young person and struggled growing up. He was referred to Dumfries and Galloway Council Employability and Skills Service in April 2015 because he was not engaging with school, was lacking confidence, employability skills and motivation. When he first came to us, he had no plans for the future and unfortunately did not fully engage with our service until a year later, when he met with our Link Worker, Laurie. When I asked Lee what changed his mind, he said, “I wasn’t in my best form back then. But I realised that it was time for a change. I didn’t know what to do or how, so I just simply followed all Laurie’s advice… and here I am, happy and employed!”

I wasn’t bothered about working and thought no one would want me

Lee started slowly building his skills and knowledge by participating in an Activity Agreement*. A few months down the line, Lee was ready for the Looked After Young Persons (LAYP) paid work experience programme. For the first time in his life Lee was earning money and began to realise there is “much more to life”.

Whilst in work experience, Lee started the Dumfries and Galloway Employability Award - Silver level. He had an opportunity to obtain both theoretical knowledge about the world of work and practice in a professional setting. He developed his skills in teamwork, customer service, time management, built his confidence, and improved both his mental health and physical health. Within just 4 weeks of completing the LAYP paid work experience, Lee accomplished his long-term goal of securing a job at the Ryan Centre! However, Lee didn’t stop there – in April 2018 he achieved something he thought he “would never be able to accomplish”- a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification. His Link Worker Laurie said: “I couldn’t possibly be more proud of Lee”.

Lee is now working towards his last D&G Award unit – Principles of Money - that he is due to complete this summer. When I asked Lee about how he feels about his achievements he replied: “I now know I am worth something and I am qualified. Additionally, I used to play console games all day long, not leaving the house, not being bothered about going out and socialising with friends. Now I can go without playing for a week! I go to bed early, I wake up early – even if I am off, I just do stuff, keeping busy. I go to the gym, I want to get fit and one day save enough money to buy a car. I really look forward to my future”

*'Activity Agreements' help school leavers gain skills and confidence. They are plans to help young people prepare for employment, training, education and/or volunteering.