Wishaw teenager John Smith is singing the praises of a back-to-work scheme he hopes will help him break into the music industry.
The unemployed youngster, who sings his own songs on YouTube, has been taking part in the North Lanarkshire Activity Agreement for school leavers.
And he reckons the skills and confidence he has picked up will help him find a direction in life.
John said: “I’m realistic. I know it won’t be an easy business to break into and I’ll probably have to get a job to keep me going. But I’m determined.”
Since starting his course in Wishaw he has learned basic first aid and CPR and has spent time with Pather Artworks Junk Sculpture Project.
John now has a clear direction andcontinued: “First, get a job. I can’t be too choosy but it would let me work on my music in my own time and become a better singer.
“In three years, I reckon I’ll still be working towards my dream but with a better chance of making it happen. My mum reckons I’ve become more independent than ever. And I don’t regret signing up for the Activity Agreement .”
Activity Agreement programmes are delivered by a team of keyworkers based in community Learning Hubs in Wishaw and Motherwell. Young people work closely with their assigned keyworker to create an individually tailored plan. This outlines a clear path set by the individual of what they want to achieve, against a specific time period to help them get into learning or employment. Programmes can involve volunteering in the community, work experience, teamwork, interview skills, workplace certificates and SQA awards but, most importantly, are also fun, challenging and designed by the young person themselves. Those taking part are supported with free bus travel, access to North Lanarkshire leisure centres and, if eligible, an Education Maintenance Allowance payment.
The programme is led by North Lanarkshire Council’s community learning and development service and is supported by a wide range of partners including Skills Development Scotland, Routes to Work, Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire and employability partnership North Lanarkshire’s Working.
David Young, from the NL Activity Agreement, said “Given the current demand for job vacancies and further education courses, we know young people and their families can be worried about what the future holds for them. The transition from secondary school can be a difficult time if they feel options are limited.”
As long as participants are aged 16-19, there are no time limits for young people to join or to remain on the programme. If you or someone you know might benefit from the NL Activity Agreement, check out the website or Facebook page to find out about Activity Agreement programmes. Log onto www.activityagreement.co.uk or www.facebook.com/activityagreement for contact details.