Matt is a Training & Development Volunteer at our Foyer in Basingstoke. He runs sessions for young people living with us who are not in education or employment. These are a mixture of one-to-one and group sessions.

Why do you volunteer?

I don’t think anyone should think of themselves as ending up on the scrapheap. Everyone I have had a session with has had potential. I haven’t met anyone who isn’t articulate and hasn’t communicated well. They just need the right resources and opportunities. It’s so rewarding and I love it!

What are your sessions on?

I tailor my sessions on the young people’s needs. The first session is about finding out what the young people CAN do. It’s focused on solutions, positive outcomes and we establish goals together. The sessions are non-judgemental and it’s about building their confidence to think about aspirations and then establishing steps to achieve them. I’ve run workshops on CV writing, writing cover letters, mock interviews, how to get work ready, exploring types of careers to suit their aspirations- different people are at different stages. Some may not be work ready yet and it’s about individual progression and building a strong foundation. There’s no point throwing themselves into the deep end and setting themselves up for failure.

What do you think are the key barriers to employment?

There is a key theme I keep seeing, and it’s a lack of self- belief. I try to tackle this by helping them believe that it is worth putting the effort in. That they are worth it.

What are the benefits of attending a Training & Development session?

I think young people can learn a lot from the sessions. I was working with a young lad who had never had a job and struggled to write anything positive on his CV - he simply couldn’t identify any of his own strengths. After a chat about his past I found out that he was part of a school trip to Africa where he raised the funds and did some volunteering work. In no time, we unearth some of his strengths and highlighted his achievements on his CV.

What’s your advice to young people struggling to find a job?

Ensure your CV is the best it can be by focusing on the following;
- Ask someone to proof read it for you so that there are no spelling mistakes or incorrect dates plus ask them what they think of it?

- Don’t undervalue the experience and skills you’ve already gained, e.g., in a Saturday job or via work experience – it all helps!

- Add hobbies, sports and other interests even if you may not have done them for a while; it portrays you in an even better light.

Finally, if you’re really stuck then ask for help, don’t struggle on your own and most importantly - keep believing you’ll get there in the end – and you will!

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