Our Stories

Toni’s story. In her own words.

Hi, my name is Toni. I’m 22 and from the Wakefeild area. In short, my story is that I had a really bad relationship with my mother and I have been out on my own since 2 days after I turned 16.

I kept bouncing around from jobs to courses, not knowing what I wanted to do, until I found the Princes Trust and they helped me to get on the Talent Match Programme. I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I went on any course that I could to find something I enjoyed and was passionate about. Continue reading “Toni’s story. In her own words.”

Millie’s Story. In her own words.

My name is Millie and I am 20 years old. I have a neuro-development disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. Before I became a Talent Match Ambassador, I didn’t feel that I was understood. I found it difficult to communicate with people and that made me feel isolated. All through school I was bullied because no one understood me and how I work. Continue reading “Millie’s Story. In her own words.”

Matty’s moving up

Matty began working with us as a Talent Match young person two years ago. He struggled to make friends and had low confidence and self-esteem which also made it difficult to find work.

He joined our Ambassadors and took part in steering the programme, planning and preparing conferences, alongside many other activities. Throughout all of his work with us, we have used every opportunity to support him to overcome his barriers, make friends and adopt a professional attitude towards finding work. Continue reading “Matty’s moving up”

Morgan’s Story. In her own words.

Hi my name is Morgan Drummond and I am 19 years old. Before I joined the Tell Me programme, I was going through a lot and emotionally I was all over the place. I had no confidence and I would not talk to anyone but my mum about my stuff. Continue reading “Morgan’s Story. In her own words.”

Mel’s story. In her own words.

Hello, I’m Mel. I’m 27 years old and I’m originally from Fleetwood (near Blackpool). I moved out when I was 18 to live in Barnsley with my then-boyfriend, for a short while, before I started university at (formerly known as) Leeds Metropolitan University studying Film & Television Production.  Uni didn’t really go well for me, due to admin errors; I didn’t get to do the specialisms that I wanted to do, asides from screenwriting which I aced, but everything else; I failed. Continue reading “Mel’s story. In her own words.”

Stephen’s story. In his own words.

“Hi, I’m Stephen. I’ve suffered with a lot of mental health, including split personalities, depression and anxiety, PTSD and self-harm, and I’ve lost countless jobs because I couldn’t handle the stress or the amount of pressure that was put on me growing up. I tried to commit suicide a lot in my past, but in 2017 I overdosed and ended up in a hospital because of my actions. Continue reading “Stephen’s story. In his own words.”

Kim’s 2018. In her own words.

The Youth Association has helped me loads in the last 12 months. I have come very far in just over a year and it has changed me as a person and I look at things with a different perspective. When I first started I suffered with anxiety and a lack of confidence and it was so hard to meet new people. With the help of The Youth Association, I went to Northern Collage and did a confidence course. I really enjoyed going and it changed me as a person. I have learned how to deal with my anxiety and don’t suffer as much as I did over a year ago and that’s all down to working with The Youth Association and I am happy to be a volunteer and it is changing my life completely. Continue reading “Kim’s 2018. In her own words.”

Young people take the lead

In 2015, West Yorkshire’s Talent Match partnership were doing a great job in supporting long-term unemployed young people across the county, but they had identified that the lack of young people’s involvement in making decisions about the work of the programme was a weakness in an otherwise great partnership.  Continue reading “Young people take the lead”

Residentials work wonders

When we brought together some very willing young people hoping to form a group of Ambassadors for Talent Match, we knew there would be some challenges. The only things thing they had in common were the multiple barriers they faced and the isolation that comes from long-term unemployment. Continue reading “Residentials work wonders”

Communities come together

At a community meeting in Great Horton, an area was highlighted as suffering from a high level of anti-social behaviour and lack of community cohesion amongst residents. We  were already working with the local housing association, so we began detached youth work sessions in the neighbourhood to investigate how we could help.
Continue reading “Communities come together”

Amber: From Wakefield to Romania

My name is Amber. I’ve just finished my degree in Social Work and have decided to move to Romania to volunteer at an orphanage called Pro Vita. Over the past 6 years I have changed from a person who was too anxious to even order a take-away to someone who is planning to move to a completely different country with no-one I know.
Continue reading “Amber: From Wakefield to Romania”

A sense of belonging

Newly-arrived Roma young people in Barnsley have long felt disadvantaged on many levels. Roma gypsy young people in particular have lacked access to services and are at risks of further marginalisation and discrimination. Their levels of self-confidence are often low and the isolation they feel from the local community  leaves them with no real sense of belonging. Continue reading “A sense of belonging”

Against all odds

Aaron is always trying desperately to improve his current situation and prospects; he has had a troubled past that he wants to leave behind. It sometimes seems like the world is against him as circumstances have often put him into a vicious cycle which he is unable to get out of and in the main its through no fault of his own. Continue reading “Against all odds”

Amber’s Story

We met Amber when she came along to one of our Talent Match Ambassadors sessions, when she suffered with mental health issues, low confidence and self-esteem. Continue reading “Amber’s Story”


FE students across our region are struggling with work readiness. Traditional employability programmes in schools and colleges focus heavily on CV building and interview skills. However, the ‘BESTest’ psychometric assessment is, time and time again, demonstrating that deficits in initiative, resilience and workplace behaviours are particularly holding young people back from progress into employment.

Continue reading “Sellme™”

Getting to where you need to be

When Alex Gill first got involved with us as part of the summer NCS programme in 2014, she already had a strong ambition to study medicine and become a doctor in the NHS. She knew that the long road to becoming a doctor is a competitive one and that working with us provided a real opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

Continue reading “Getting to where you need to be”

Shay’s first year in the UK

When we first met Salome (her friends call her Shay) last year, she had recently arrived in the UK. Shay was born in Latvia, part of a Jewish family and had travelled frequently to ensure her parents could find work. She had moved schools and homes many times during her childhood and teen years. Initially, Shay was really quiet and most comfortable when others would take the lead.
Continue reading “Shay’s first year in the UK”