Highlighting our Employability Service: Aaron’s Story

Thursday 07 December 2023
Aaron from employability service at Action for Children Starry Night

Our Employability Service aims to provide support to young people who are furthest removed from the employment market. We spoke to 20-year-old Aaron to tell us about his journey from being homeless to working at the Starry Night gala.

Aaron became homeless two years ago. After being referred to Action for Children by a friend, he has been supported by us for the past year and a half. Aaron is a Section 5 case, which means that he became homeless through no fault of his own. We asked him the following questions:

1. Could you share some of your background and how you got involved with Action for Children’s Employability Service?

“So, I became homeless two years ago. It was very rough, I slept on the street, I couch-surfed. I slept in hostels and hotels and accommodations. I was referred to Action for Children by a friend, and since then, they’ve been there for me every step of the way.

I joined the Employability Service because it was a service that could help me expand the skills I needed to have to get back into employment. I’ve been out of employment due to housing for about a year and a half now but I’m ready to get back into it.”

“The Employability Service has been great – the people running it have been amazing. They’re very social people and they help me get involved with the work.

They do presentations with us, talking through everything about employment and beyond. Most importantly, they ask us what we think, and I think that’s the best part of it. They ask for feedback for stuff that applies directly to us, and I think that’s good because we’re a small group – its more focused for us and for our needs.”

Youth employment

“And as for Action for Children as a whole, they’ve been amazing. They’ve helped me with networking opportunities with housing associations, job centres, and helped me understand how this process works.

They've also assisted me with seeking financial advice, finding mental health advice with GPs and overall providing me with all the options available to me.

Thanks to them, I actually just got my new flat last week. It's in the east end of Glasgow where I grew up... I know the area, so I feel safe there.”

2. What difference has the Employability Service made to your skills and what do you hope to do with these skills in the future?

“The biggest difference has been with how it’s improved my reliability and timekeeping skills because I’ve been working to a schedule and I’ve stuck to it. Most days in the Employability Service meant working and being active from 9am till 3pm.

It’s helped with my confidence quite a lot because the people that are running it very much encourage us to know what we’re good at and they want us to be confident in that and expand our skillset around that.

That’s helpful because it means we don’t focus on doing things that we have no idea about. We’re using what we already have, and then using these skills to tackle other things as well - I think that’s been amazing for me.”

3. You’ve just been a part of Action for Children’s Starry Night gala – what can you say about the experience?

"It’s been an incredible opportunity. I’ve been able to meet all of the people, funders and everyone from every single sector that's involved in this event. And they were all genuine people. Everyone from the funders to the workers, to the workers that worked with me, to every single person. The people who drove all the stuff down here, the people who work at reception, every single person has made this vehicle operate."

"It’s a big thing that Action for Children are doing, and it's good to see them expand because they do help people like me.

The Employability Service gives people who have had a bad role of the dice another opportunity to actually grow, learn and have success in their life.

"And I think it's good to share that because people need to recognise that we need more charities like this. We need more places to do things for people and do it right, which Action for Children do in my personal experience. The workers are right, the funding goes to the right things.

It's changed my life immensely and I wouldn't be the same person without it.

AAron from employability service at Action for Children Starry Night's reception.jpg

4. How does an event like Starry Night help prepare you for the world of work?

"I'm actually quite surprised because after doing this event, I would love to be part of events like this on a big scale.

I've not told anyone this yet but I'm starting to think that maybe Action for Children could be a place to pursue work because I now have the tangible experience and understanding and compassion of what it's like to be needing the employability service. I would love to participate, give back to people and also be a part of it."

After an event like this, I feel like I have the confidence and skill set to actually do something good with my life and be successful.

5. What’s been your favourite thing about Starry Night?

Talking to the guests. It was fun to speak to them because some of them were actually really lovely people. You don’t know really know what funders might be like as people.

But to meet them in person, it’s really lovely to hear that they do care about you, your story and the charity. And I had a lot of fun talking to them, especially the CEO, Paul, because we’re from the same part of Glasgow. I saw him in his kilt and I thought, he must be Scottish.”

6. What would you say to someone who doesn’t know about Action for Children or its services?

It isn't just a company - they do actually care about your needs. And whatever problems you have, they either have the facilities for that, very good facilities mind you, or they will send you in the right direction with enough preparation so no matter what problem you have, Action for Children will help you in the ways that they can. They're all inclusive, they don't discriminate and as long as you seek them out, they’re there for you. Thanks to them, the next step for me will be seeking employment."

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