NOLB activity agreements case study: John

Learn how John was supported through an Activity Agreement and the positive impact it has had on him reaching employment and further education.

No One Left Behind (NOLB) Activity Agreements are an option for school leavers or young people who aren’t feeling confident about taking the next step to college, training or employment. They help to build new skills and increase levels of confidence.

During the senior phase of High School, John was experiencing many issues that were impacting his confidence and ability to continue learning in school.

John was referred for an Activity Agreement by his school in his senior years. An Activity Agreement is an individual package of activity and learning that is built around a young person’s needs and interests. This could be a range of activities - music, arts, sport, outdoor activities - and can be flexible to the young person’s suggestions. The aim is that upon completing a programme a young person will be more confident and feel ready to make the next transition into further education, training or employment. To help bring this to life, John has shared more about his experience and where it led him.

“The Activity Agreement to me is the best thing that has happened to me. I have had many issues throughout my life, many of which I haven't spoken about and in high school was when it felt like all those moments finally hit home when I was constantly getting bullied and made to feel like a ghost by people who I thought were my best friends. With this, it is the reason that in S5 that I started dropping out of school and not going. It felt like in my life at that current time that I had no one I could go to for anything, leading to a severe increase of mental health issues and loss of confidence, which in turn ended up being the cause of me staying mostly in the house for a whole year.

It wasn't until Mary, my Activity Agreement Coach came knocking on my door at the end of the year that I actually started to think about my life and what I wanted to do to fix it. She came with the intention of me going on an Activity Agreement and joining a Wednesday employability group at Pilton Youth & Children's Project (PY), which I was very hesitant to do at the time.

At the time I really didn't want to do it because I was scared and had no confidence in myself to go into a new setting. But I did because I felt pressured at home by family and I needed somewhere to get away and have some time to myself, and after just a few weeks it seemed to be a great decision.”

Through the support of his Activity Agreement Coach, John gained experience as a volunteer at PY and managed to secure employment through Community Jobs Scotland (CJS). This helped him to build his confidence and put his best foot forward when entering the world of work. John secured a role as a Pupil Support Assistant in a North Edinburgh primary school where he has now worked for 18 months. He has been going to college and doing night classes to gain Highers, and the primary school is supporting and encouraging him to progress further with a teaching career.  His mental and physical health is very good, he is settled and happy and he has clear aspiration.

John shared how this support impacted him,

“I owe everything I have today to the Activity Agreement but more specifically my Activity Agreement Coach; she was always there to help me in the times I needed it and gave me the chances to help me better my life when no one else would. I wouldn't like to think where I'd be today if it weren't for that one day she turned up at my door, but I couldn't be more grateful it happened and I couldn't recommend more to people that are even in a somewhat similar situation as me to take the Activity Agreement opportunity with both hands and make the most of it.”

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