Aaron’s career in on the right track thanks to Strike for Life programme

An inspiring teenager from Burnley is onto a dream career path after successfully completing a project tackling youth unemployment.

17-year-old Aaron Lewis took part in the free Strike for Life programme, which has helped him secure a place on a sports course at Myerscough College and opened doors to coaching opportunities locally.

Using sport as an incentive to engage young adults, the programme offers 16-25 year-olds practical advice, skills and opportunities to kick-start their way into employment, training or further education.

The four-week scheme has been launched in February and is run in partnership between Burnley Leisure’s Active Streets project and Whitefield Youth Association, Nelson.

The programme focuses on helping young people who experience employment barriers—a young adult like Aaron.

Aaron had been studying for his A levels for about four months before he realised he wanted to focus solely on sports. He made a tough decision to leave school and pursue his interest.

However, he spent the next couple of months sitting around the house, unemployed and not knowing where to start – like a lot of unemployed young people of his generation.

Until one day he chose to come along to a weekly #WorkingWednesday session at Burnley Youth Zone and see what opportunities are available.

There he met Burnley Leisure’s sport activator Keiran Adamson who told him about the Strike for Life project and encouraged him to give it a go.

Together with ten other young people he signed up and over the next month actively took part in a host of workshops, company visits, events and training sessions.

From top CV writing tips to best interviewing techniques and coaching methods, Aaron gained an array of practical skills helping him get on the right track.

He also completed two qualifications – one in safeguarding and a nationally recognised Level 2 Award in Community Sports Leadership.

The leadership qualification equipped Aaron with the knowledge of how to lead groups of people in sport or activity.

He also learned leadership skills such as organisation, planning, communication and teamwork through the medium of sport.

Aaron said: “Before I went to the drop-in session at the Youth Zone I was stuck in my house without any motivation to do something and felt nervous about taking part in the project.

“Strike for Life has given me the confidence to actually go and attempt new things as well as to actively go and seek new opportunities.

“My confidence has improved not just with the coaching but also with making friends. It’s everything, really. The course enables you to release your potential and makes you into a more relaxed, confident person.”

As a result of all the hard work, the energetic teenager has managed to secure not only a place at the college but also land a part-time position at a local Tesco store. In his spare time he puts his new skills by coaching football in Towneley Park in the evenings.

And when he’s not doing all that Aaron can be seen volunteering at Burnley Leisure and helping out with activities at St Peter’s Leisure Centre and in the community.

According to Aaron, the course has truly helped him turn his life around and provided a stepping stone to his future career in sport.

The young man speaks highly of the course and is ready to help out youngsters in the next Strike for Life programme starting later this summer.

He said: “I’m extremely pleased I took part in the scheme as it gave me the opportunity to enhance my CV and understand what an employer is looking for. The course covered different areas of personal development and gave me an insight into what to expect in the sport industry.

“The course environment was extremely relaxed and very enjoyable, enabling me to increase my confidence. I am thoroughly enjoying my new busy life and I am looking forward to supporting the next Strike for Life group.”

Keiran said: “I am delighted that Aaron has secured a place on the college course after he worked so hard during the project.

“I found that Aaron was a polite and intelligent individual who was keen to learn and gain experience in a field he is interested in. He was a star pupil on the programme who turned up at every session and managed to motivate other group members. I’m pleased to see the positive change in Aaron and wish him best of luck in his future career.”

Burnley Leisure is currently looking for young adults to join the second course starting in August.

Those who are currently not in education, training or employment are invited to register by contacting Keiran on 01282 477167 or emailing kadamson@burnley.gov.uk.

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