"The last part of the programme has been while we’ve been in lockdown. I don’t always want to get out of bed, but I make myself, I really feel better for doing it."

Lewis attended Get on Track for Employability which was run in conjunction with Action for Children in Edinburgh with funding provided by LNER. The young people attending have been working towards a career in construction alongside attending the Get on Track programme delivered by athlete mentor Chris Elliot.

Before I started the programme, I was at school, I was thinking about leaving and getting a job. My career guidance teacher at school put me on to this programme and said it would be useful. It’s been an absolute blast, I’ve really got along with everyone on it. The construction part has been really useful, learning about scaffolding and things and preparing for my Construction Skills Certificate. Keith & Billy from Action for Children have been really great, I got on really well with them.

Working with my athlete mentor Chris Elliot has been good. We’ve done loads of different challenges, I remember doing the Jenga bricks one right at the start where we had to get across a room with it, it was tough, but we had a good laugh with it. We got to try out loads of activities too, like RYZE - a big trampoline park, a Ninja Warrior gym and also indoor climbing. I’d never done that before and really enjoyed it. It was great to learn new skills – it was hard as you only got to use one colour hold to make it tougher as you go up, bouncing down once you got to top was great fun though!

Before the programme started, I was playing football now and then and also boxing, which I’ve been doing for a few years. I’m doing more physical activity now though than I was before. I go out running more and I’m always out on my bike when I can.

Chris Elliot – Athlete Mentor

When I first met Lewis, he was very reserved, he always seemed to be at the edges of the group. I did note that he was very observant and kept an eye on things though. Initially when he tried new things, sometimes he got frustrated, but over time his ability to take a step back, assess and then go again at the situation really improved.  Over time Lewis very much became a quiet leader within the group, leading by actions as the programme developed. He’s a really capable person and I know he’s going to do well in the future.

I think the most useful part of the programme for me was this thing called a social circles exercise. It’s where you think about who you’re closest too, like family, then your friends and that. You think about who has a positive impact on your life and things like that. It’s hard to explain why it was useful, but it had a big impact on me, it really made me think… alongside the construction skills, I’ve learned how to plan for a job interview, and done interview skills, so me preparing better for when I do them.

The last part of the programme has been while we’ve been in lockdown. It’s actually been good still doing the sessions with Chris. I don’t always want to get out of bed, but I make myself, I really feel better for doing it. These sessions with Chris help me prepare for the other sessions later in the day when I’m doing the construction stuff. I’ve had my share of good times and bad times in school, it’s time to get my head down and stop mucking about so that’s why I’m sticking with it.

I’d 100% recommend this programme to anyone. I’ve been learning new skills, it helps to get you a job and there’s a bunch of people you get to meet, who you will get along with.

Huge thanks to LNER for providing the funding for this programme and also to Action for Children as the delivery partner.