South Yorkshire charity Sheffield Futures celebrated young people making positive changes in their lives, as part of the Get On Track programme.
The young people talked about their experiences on the 6-week course, which saw them face challenges like abseiling, mock interviews and pitching ideas to industry professionals. Many of the young people had been involved in Sheffield gangs and had low school attendance before joining the course.
A teenage attendee at the celebration said: “I had a bad history with crime. A couple of years ago and I started to feel like I wanted to help others. It was a bit scary not knowing people you were working with but it was good as well because it built my confidence.”
Get on Track, spearheaded by the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, works in partnership with local charity Sheffield Futures. The unique aspect of the course is that it is led by world class athletes that can inspire the next generation. James Kirton – Athlete Mentor and Sheffield Futures Ambassador led the team of young people through the course and it was clear on the night to see the group had formed a close bond.
James represented Great Britain in swimming for over six years, reaching Olympic, World and European level. His aim is to raise young people’s aspirations by helping them to harness the physical and psychological skills needed to achieve their personal goals and targets.
James said: “The skillset that athletes have is very close knitted to working with young people facing disadvantage… It’s about discovering their strengths and weaknesses. The young people here beforehand had been out of work, getting themselves into trouble and now they’re all back in education. What an amazing outcome.”
The Lord Mayor of Sheffield was in attendance and awarded the proud young people a certificate acknowledging their contribution and hard work.
Gail Gibbons CEO of Sheffield Futures said:“Young people that start the course – their confidence might be quite low, they might have been out of education or work for quite a long time and what we find is after completing the course, they gain a lot of new skills. They meet new people, build their confidence and most of them move on into training and employment, so it’s a really positive outcome.”
If you’re 16-25 and looking for work, training, education or volunteering opportunities – Get on Track could see you work with Olympic athletes to reach your full potential. To find out more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.