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Sean

I graduated from University in August of 2020, after studying a Football Studies course in Southampton. I ended up finishing the majority of my final year assignments in lockdown. Once I had moved back home I started applying for various roles, not hearing responses from many of them. One of the main things that I struggle with is my confidence and self-belief in my own abilities.

I was recommended to sign up for the Making The Leap’s ACE Programme as I was told it can really develop your employability skills and help build your confidence in many areas, including interviews. I was sceptical at first, as I have never taken part in something such as this. I was nervous before starting as I did not know anyone and having to speak in front of people especially on zoom was difficult at first. Once it started, however, this all changed, all of the other Fellows were so friendly and it was reassuring to know that other people were in a similar position to myself. Throughout the week, we all took part in various activities that really pushed us outside our comfort zones, but this all proved to be hugely beneficial. You could see people’s confidence growing as the week progressed which was brilliant to see.

From being nervous at the beginning of the week to feeling so much more confident at the end of the week, my experience with the Virtual ACE Programme was amazing. This was down to how well the Programme is run and also due to the great work of all the team leaders.

My aim for my career has always been to be a professional football coach, hopefully, one day working in the Premier League. I am actively coaching with a grassroots team in South Croydon and my passion continues to grow each day. Since I took part in the ACE Programme I had an interview for Fulham FC Foundation and was luckily told that I got the job. My start has been delayed by the pandemic but I have now begun to work with the club and it is nice to feel optimistic about my future and one day reaching my dream.

One of the best things to come from the Programme was meeting my Career Champion. She has been amazing from minute one. It is great especially during the global pandemic to have someone that is supporting you and that you know you can rely on for support at any time. Our catch-ups every few weeks have become a part of my schedule and I always look forward to them. My Career Champion was so helpful in my preparation for an interview with the NHS when I applied for the role as a Marshall at the Mass Vaccination Sites across South West London. The help she provided was invaluable for the interview and was a big reason why I have secured the job.

I would recommend anyone that is struggling with developing confidence or just needs help and support for the next step in their lives, to take part in the ACE Programme. It may feel as though you are the only one struggling to find employment and that everyone else is doing fine, but I can guarantee that you are not on your own. Once you get to talk to people around your age who are experiencing the same things that you are, it can be incredibly motivating and make you feel more optimistic about your future. The pandemic has been tough for people in many ways, especially those who have just finished university, but there is always something that you can be thankful for or positive about, the ACE Programme helped build my confidence and made me realise that you can still do something positive even when times are tough, just keep going.

By Sean.

Sean and his Cohort on the Virtual ACE Programme.

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