Page 0017

Improved confidence

17

Help you into work

Rhys, 18, had quit college early and spent the next six

months mainly indoors, not having the confidence to leave

the house. He felt he had no prospects, and nothing to

aspire to.

But that all changed when he started receiving support

from us.

Lindsey, one of our youth mentors, encouraged him to

attend some regular youth events at The Arc, and soon Rhys

began volunteering for Westcliff Community Works.

He said: "Volunteering gave me a reason to leave the house.

I really enjoyed it from the moment I started, and it felt

rewarding to help others."

That's how Rhys met another of our youth mentors, Jemma,

and he told her about wanting to get an apprenticeship.

Before he knew it, he was meeting with her on a regular

basis to develop his CV, learn interview techniques, search

for jobs and ultimately build his confidence.

Rhys explains how Jemma went 'the extra mile' in her

support.

He explained: "It never felt like a strict appointment with

her - it was more like one person just wanting to help

another. I wasn't treated as a mere number and then just left

to it, Jemma's support had a real caring and personal quality

to it.

"For example I got an interview for a local garage and,

having never had a proper interview before, I was really

nervous. Jemma went out of her way to go to the bus station

and wait with me, to message me before the interview to

help settle my nerves, and to call me afterwards to see how

it had gone. I was extremely grateful for that."

Rhys didn't get that job in the end but, with his new-found

confidence, he refused to let his head drop. He enhanced his

skills by doing courses such as safeguarding through

our Employment Support team. Then an apprenticeship

came up at a local outdoor activity centre.

Rhys said: "The apprenticeship was as an activity leader

and, because I'd worked with other young people at The

Arc and through Westcliff Community Works, I had the

confidence and experience to apply."

Soon, he found out he had been successful for the 15-month

apprenticeship that began in January. Even though the

centre is currently closed due to the Coronavirus situation,

Rhys explained how he has been 'loving every minute of it'.

"I used to be really self-conscious and hated public speaking

but, now, I feel completely at home with leading sessions

and it's coming naturally to me. I try to make sure visitors

have a good time, even if that means doing silly things like

singing and dancing - if it puts a smile on their face, then

that's all that matters."

Rhys dedicates the recent good news to the support that he

has received along the way.

He said: "I'm a totally different person - I wasn't in the best

mindset a year ago but now I'm much more confident.

"Without everything that Jemma and everybody else did for

me, I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today."

We provide a range of support from helping people

into work and one-to-one mentoring, to training

courses to improve your skills. Check out our

website ongo.co.uk to find out how we could

help you.

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