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
But that all changed when he started receiving support
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
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
"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