Giving young people the confidence to achieve

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
13th December 2017

Not too long ago, Nick Walker felt trapped in a depressive state with little hope of getting a job.

He had severe epilepsy and left school at 16 suffering with depression and low self-esteem. He weighed 24 stone.

Sadly, Nick’s case is all too prevalent among young people who at an early age lose their way and find (through no fault of their own) they have little hope of finding a worthwhile job.

But happily, the Nick I met recently was an amazing guy at 23 who has gone through what I can only call an incredible transformation into a young, responsible father who feels he has everything to live for.

That transformation which will hearten many parents with sons and daughters like Nick was shown last Friday evening (December 8) in a quite inspirational film on ITV West Country in which I was asked to appear.

Nick was mentored by a great Gloucestershire charity - Young Gloucestershire - that supports disadvantaged young people who are facing challenges in their lives.

They gave Nick confidence motivation and skills. He started volunteering to hone that confidence. 

And where is he now?

A full time employee at Marks & Spencer in Gloucester who has just won an award in the M&S Marks & Start programme which works with charity partners.

“I felt I was trapped in a cycle”, said Nick. ”Too old to access educational support but too young to be considered experienced enough to employ.”

So many of our young people find themselves in Nick’s position. So many do not know how to access the right help.

Just a few days after the Fixers item on ITV West Country, I was at a funeral when a mother told me she had a grandson who she thought might get into a similar position to Nick. She had been moved by his story.

So many of our young people need to get the sort of mentoring that Young Gloucestershire gave Nick, and then Marks & Spencer and Remploy took it to the next stage and gave him the chance of a job.

I applaud their efforts which have made this young man feel whole again.

And I applaud ITV West Country whose Fixers series-networked with regional stories- has told the journey of a young man who is a real inspiration to us all.

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