I have worked with LNK since January 2017. I came to LNK to work on the Aspire Higher pilot project. I had wanted to get involved with LNK for a few years prior to this, because of the great work that was being done with young people, within the local community and my own experiences growing up in Croydon. Unfortunately, I was unable to get involved, because I had work commitments, 7 days a week. When the opportunity of a full time position came up, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the team.
My role at LNK is to offer support, advice and guidance to young people, who have been identified as being at risk of becoming NEET (not in Education, Employment or Training), for various different reasons. I have a case load of 15 young people, who I am expected to work with for a consecutive 18 month period. The purpose of my role is to offer personalised support, through 1-1 sessions and group work. I began working with these young people in their alternative education provision, getting to know them and building a relationship. During this time, I have watched them develop and mature and achieve things that they didn’t always think they could. It is important in my role that I am able to help build their self-esteem, offer the support that they need and that I am available to them throughout the length of the programme. We are teaching them the life skills that they will need, if they wish to do well during their first year of independent education, employment or training. The ultimate goal is to get these young people on track to succeed.
I initially wanted to be a part of the LNK team, because of my own experiences, when I was a teenager. I was excluded from main stream school during year 9, left my new school due to bullying in year 10 and had no form of education until 2 months before what would have been the end of year 11, when I was finally placed in an alternative provision. I used the final 2 months of year 11 to complete 3 Introductory BTEC courses, which enabled me to get a place on a level 1 course at college. Because of the negative experiences I had, I felt as though I had been given up on and knew that there would be many other young people, who will have had the same type of experiences and feelings. I feel as though because of what I went through, I am in position to understand what some of these young people are going through and the type of support that they need, that I could offer.
Once I got to college, I successfully completed my first year, top of my class. I spent the next year at college on a level 2 course and then went on to do an apprenticeship during what would have been my last year at college. At the end of my apprenticeship, a full time position was created for me. I spent the next 4 years working for this organisation and worked my way up, from an apprentice, to an assistant, to a full time administrator.