Before coming on Get on Track I’d been out of work for a few months. I had done a carpentry course at college after leaving school but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do and because I didn’t have any work experience I was really struggling to get a job.

The Job Centre told me about Get on Track and because there was an element of sport involved, I thought I’d give it a go. I’d always been interested in sport and I did a fair bit of distance running to keep fit so it sounded like a good opportunity.

On the first few days I was a bit worried about how it would go and how I would get along with everyone but in those first few days you do a load of team building stuff and that really helped. At the end of week one you do an exercise called DGT and our group was the fastest to complete it that year, something we were all really proud of!

We did loads of different things on the programme such as Health & Safety and First Aid training and we also did a social action project where we put on an afternoon tea just before Christmas for Age UK. Everyone got involved and I played guitar while some of the others sang, it was a really good afternoon.

I really enjoyed all the activities we did on the programme. We went out cycling, visited the Olympic Park and learnt all about strength and conditioning at Canterbury Christchurch University. This was probably the turning point in the programme for me, I really enjoyed learning about what goes into getting people active and fit and it was then that I decided I wanted to work in a gym and become a fitness instructor.

Michelle was my athlete mentor and she really believed in me and encouraged me and this helped me believe in myself as well. She helped me to feel more confident in myself and I also grew in resilience throughout the programme. When I started the programme I had a severe stutter but because of the confidence and skills I have gained, I overcame this and I hardly stutter at all now when speaking.

Michelle Griffith-Robinson– Athlete Mentor

Luke was a really lovely guy to have on the course, a great person to have in the working environment and always showed great work ethic. I’m not surprised at all to hear he’s done so well.”

At the end of the programme, Swale Leisure offered me three weeks work experience at the Swallows Leisure centre where Get on Track was based. Over that period we worked in every department and I was really pleased when in February 2018 I was offered a job as Casual Events staff. I worked really hard and in May I was offered the opportunity to work in the gym which was a real goal of mine. In November I qualified as a level Two fitness instructor so I now perform inductions for new members, demonstrate exercises and write programmes for members. I love it.

Ben Ryder – Community Development Office, Swale Leisure

“When Luke came onto the programme he had a very prominent stutter which meant he didn’t have the confidence to speak in front of the group. However as the programme progressed we found that Luke would use his free gym membership before every session. When talking about the gym and the sessions he had completed he was very passionate about the subject. Since the programme has finished Luke has gone on to gain Level Two gym instructor qualification and has secured employment in our gym.  Luke has been a key member of staff over the last eight months and has been an asset to the organisation. This has been rewarded with Luke being awarded employee of the month during his first eight months of employment.”

In the future I want to do a personal trainer course and become a PT and hopefully one day open my own gym.

If anyone is thinking about whether to do a programme like this I would say ‘Just do it.’ If you don’t, you might miss out on a great opportunity to get a job that you really want.’