News! Young people know the help that suits them best

From being a young woman without qualifications and an undiagnosed health condition, Shirebrook’s Samantha Doyle proves that young people can have untapped talents and make a difference for their communities.

By having the courage to share her experiences, Samantha has contributed to development of the Talent Match programme that is better designed to support young people in to happier and productive lives.  She now has two jobs and is working towards university and her dream career.

Samantha said, “I wasn’t properly diagnosed until I was 18 – before then, people thought I was just being a drama queen and I didn’t understand that I had a mental health condition.  I’d been really depressed and never thought that I would move on from there: I thought that I was stuck in that life forever.  I wasn’t able to go out alone and felt uncomfortable in social situations.  Now, I travel, do job interviews and go out with friends.”

Volunteering at the Rhubarb Farm was one of her first steps and the outdoor activity of planting and digging was an ideal way of getting over anxiety and stress.  She explained her progress: “I was invited to become a member of the Bolsover Young Advisory Group that helped plan the Talent Match project.  I was able to contribute from real experience of growing up with a health problem and the difficulties of rural travel.  Other programmes had been more focussed on qualifications and getting a job or apprenticeship for which young people just weren’t ready because they had lots of other problems.  Now Talent Match is properly designed: giving young people one-to-one support towards work and considering all of their needs.”

Samantha shows how this approach works: “I have a personal coach who helped with my CV and what to say (and not say) at interviews.  One of my goals is to go to university so we planned all the steps to get there.  I’m starting my first GCSE later this year and that will mean I can get on to an Access course.  I’ve now got two part-time paid jobs.  I’m employed by the Rhubarb Farm with special responsibilities as a training development assistant: planning and costing courses but still doing practical work such as planting flowers for our open day.” 

She explained how the programme has helped her get a second job, “they offer wage funding to encourage voluntary sector employers such as Community Voluntary Partners to take on young people like me.  With them, I’m just completing my induction before starting business administration and office work.  They have been so welcoming and are making sure that my work develops as I get more experience.  And it avoids any travel problems as I can just walk to the Centre in Shirebrook.”

The right help has made all the difference as Samantha commented, “My Mum’s really proud of me.  She’s been there for me through all the tough times and even when I was really difficult to live with.  Now I’m a totally different person and a lot happier.  I feel much more positive about the future.  I want to get a degree and become a biological anthropologist.  I’m also interested in some community work or a project that introduces young people to local archaeology.”

The Talent Match programme is helping residents of Bolsover, Bassetlaw, Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire aged 18-24 who have not been in employment, education or training for over 12 months and who have other work barriers – phone 01629 537869.