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Shaping lives with YMCA – 25+ Support

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Shaping lives with YMCA – 25+ Support

1/12/2022 – Chris Caldwell

Shaping lives with YMCA

Ryan, 25+ Support – FWP

Shaping lives with YMCA

Ryan, 25+ Support – FWP

Ryan joined Invest having spent four years searching for suitable work. He reluctantly engaged with the service due to his low confidence and unsure of which step to take. He had a short role at a retail group but really struggled to enjoy the role.

With his limited work experience and long-term unemployment, Ryan was referred from Johnstone JCP having been identified for Funded Work Placement. His work coach encouraged him to make the step to Invest and following his assessment and action plan Ryan started to build up his relationship with his advisor.

 Ryan continued his Invest journey by attending soft skill training, where he engaged in teambuilding, interview skills & techniques and goal setting sessions. As a result, he applied for the FWP info session to learn what was involved within the placements and was signposted to youth work roles.

He expressed an interest in a position within YMCA which he was selected for interview. At this point his advisor supported him with interview clothing and mock interviews. Ryan attended the interview with Claire and the team at YMCA and felt incredibly excited about the opportunity. It was fantastic to see Ryan full of confidence and direction, something far from where he was during his assessment stage.

Ryan was successful at interview and started his role as a Youth Worker in the Paisley office. He was extremely excited and nervous about the opportunity, having been out of work for 4 years. He joined the established YMCA team, led by Claire McGinley (Youth & Programme Development Manager).

 His role included in work training and certification, tailored to the role and individual. Claire directed Ryan to important training in youth work, first aid and workplace ethics and diversity support. Ryan has been given lots of 1-2-1 support to ensure he is moulded to the values of the organisation, promoted inclusion, leadership, and respect.

Ryan slowly got use to the working culture and demands set by Claire and is now going from strength to strength, setting a positive environment and finding a new niche in supporting elderly groups with tech support.

Ryan continues in his 6-month placement which will hopefully launch him into sustainable work in which he enjoys. It is very clear that the funding, support, and pathway provided by the partnership is making real impact in Ryan’s journey to sustainable employment.

When asked about how he has found the opportunity Ryan said “At first, I had no confidence due to my previous experience of workplaces and that made me not want to get into work, Since I started with the YMCA I was nervous had no confidence in myself to do anything but I have learned a lot from everyone within the YMCA.

I feel like I’ve gained knowledge of Youth Work, Confidence and I am more open with myself. I really enjoy working with the YMCA and very happy I got given this opportunity”

Claire McGinley, Youth & Programme Development Manager added “Initiatives such as the Invest Funded Work Programme align well with our work in supporting young people to access meaningful employment opportunities and this is just one reason that I was keen to support Ryan’s placement. 

It was evident that Ryan had a negative experience of the workplace when he joined us, and it took him a while to settle in and feel confident. 

We are proud that our supportive culture and employment practices have led to Ryan’s increased confidence. 

He continues to learn new skills and develop good working relationships with his colleagues, and he has been an amazing asset to our Connecting Communities group which is a digital inclusion group for older adults – they are always so complimentary about his work and all the support he provides them with. 

Laura Tait, DWP Work Coach said “Ryan has come so far from when I first met him.  I always remember our first appointment; he was a little nervous and distracted.  However, I feel we quickly built up a good repour and working relationship. 

 When working with Ryan, for me it wasn’t about getting him into work, it was about building his confidence and making him realise it was ok to be himself and not be someone who he thought people wanted him to be.

Throughout our appointments I noticed his confidence grow and after various conversations we agreed a referral to Invest would help him with his progression.  I know given the right opportunity and a little push of encouragement; Ryan would be great asset to any organisation”

To find out more about joining Invest in Renfrewshire please visit Or call on 0300 300 1180.