Neil's story

When Neil was referred to Connect he had little confidence and self esteem and felt vulnerable when away from his family home. Neil started at the Connect Project one day per week to begin with in order to develop confidence in new situations and around new people.

Staff worked closely with Neil to produce a realistic and achievable Independent Learning Plan. This included developing confidence, team working, communication and setting realistic career goals. Neil soon gained confidence and began attending the project three days per week to coincide with ferry timetables.

Through lots of varied sessions and activities Neil began to develop confidence and make a new social circle. His communication skills improved and while volunteering at Orkney Blide Trust developing a water feature, Neil realised that his interest lay in the construction industry and that he had skills he wanted to develop. Connect worked in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and Orkney College to help Neil progress on to Get Ready For Work programme. Not only did Neil need support to make a smooth transition to college but it also meant that Neil would be living independently. Connect supported Neil with finding accommodation, independent living skills, budgeting to make sure he felt supported whilst away from home. During his time at College Neil was allowed time to visit Connect on a weekly basis to discuss any issues and gain support when needed. Neil completed the Get Ready For Work programme and has lived independently in Kirkwall for the last seven months.

On his last visit to Connect he informed us that a local building business has taken him on for a four year apprenticeship in Masonry. A member of VAO staff said “I saw Neil at Tesco’s last night and he was buying his weekly food. He actually spoke and asked how I was doing. He made eye contact and was like a different young man”. Neil’s dad visited the project and said “I can’t thank you enough, the project has helped and supported Neil in so many ways. Before Connect I would have struggled to get him out of the house never mind go to college."

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