Before getting involved in Greater Manchester Talent Match, Chris found himself in a downward spiral spending up to £120 a week on ‘weed’ landing his mum in to debt in the process.
Chris also struggled to commit to any studies or work. He bounced from warehouse job to warehouse job. He felt constantly demotivated and had no aspirations. He had also started and dropped out of a number of college courses finding himself sitting in his room all day isolating himself from his friends and family.
Chris told his Talent Coach, Holly Lam-Moores from GreaterSport, “I would get so far then just give up and go back to my old ways.”
Chris made the decision to turn his life around when, on his way to the Job Centre, he picked up a leaflet looking for young unemployed people to sign up to a Dame Kelly Holmes Get On Track programme run by Link4Life and GreaterSport. Chris did something that he had never really bothered to do before and took the initiative to email the contact and sign up. This became a huge turning point for Chris, “all I needed was someone to talk to and be there to help me”.
During his time on Get On Track, Chris worked with members of staff at Link4Life and the Athlete mentors Charlotte Hartley and Sophie Cox to get the support that he had been lacking. Throughout his 8 weeks on Get On Track, Chris gained confidence through being challenged by the athletes physically and socially, whilst gaining employability skills and a Sports Leadership Award.
At this point, Chris started to work with Holly on the Greater Manchester Talent Match programme. She said, “As a Talent Coach at GreaterSport I saw Chris as an ideal young person for the Greater Manchester Talent Match programme as he showed a willingness to find work, had already dedicated and committed his time to the Get On Track and he again took some initiative by directly asking me for help.”
When asked how the programmes have helped him, Chris responded “Get On Track and Talent Match guided me onto the right path and encouraged me to make the right choices.”
Chris had clearly got the fitness bug after being around previous athletes and taking part in various sporting challenges. He enjoyed going to the gym and keeping himself in shape.
Holly said, “After many conversations with Chris it was apparent that he was eager to work in the fitness industry as it had already had such a positive impact on his life. Thanks to PocketFit, Chris along with other young people in a similar situations to him was able to gain a Level 2 Fitness Instructor qualification. Again another step in the right direction.”
Chris said, “The fitness course is the only course I have completed since being in High School, Steve from PocketFit was really helpful and supportive.”
When asked Chris if the course has made a difference to his lifestyle Chris responded, “It’s boosted my confidence as my body shape has changed and I feel happier and healthier in myself.” Chris has also managed stop himself from using ‘weed’ as he says he’s now able to keep busy and feels he has a sense of purpose after completing the course to move onto the next step.
Chris has now been offered casual hours as a cleaner at the leisure centre whilst completing his 6 weeks of work experience as a fitness instructor.
Holly explains, “Link4Life have also provided him with a free gym membership during this time. After a review of how the course went he explained to me that he feels this is his entry point and that he is willing to do any sort of work to enable him to work his way up. This opportunity has allowed him to make more friends in the gym and has given him the knowledge and experience to support and help people close to him.”
Chris said, “I am now trying to use my positive experience to influence and encourage the people around me to take the same steps that I have.”
What’s next for Chris? Six months ago Chris felt he had hit rock bottom and had no motivation, aspirations to work or to be successful. Just by simply reaching out to someone and asking for help it has snowballed and he now finds himself a much more confident and motived individual. When asked where he sees himself in the next 5 years, Chris said “I’d like to have completed a Level 3 Personal Qualification by then and maybe travel the world working as Personal Trainer helping people change their lives by keeping fit.”
Holly sums up Chris’ journey, “We hope that Chris continues to be successful on Greater Manchester Talent Match, his story just shows that if you take that first positive step who knows where it may take you!”
If you are aged between 18 and 24 and are interested in finding out how Greater Manchester Talent Match can help you into employment, visit our Get Support page.