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Traineeship Turns Apprentice’s Life Around

A football coaching apprentice at Chesterfield FC Community Trust has explained how the organisation’s traineeship programme has helped turn her life around.

Alice Hodgson, 17, joined the programme in February after mental health issues resulted in her losing her place at college.

She said: “I was told to leave college because I’ve had issues with mental health and I had a few incidents there.

“I was discharged from hospital a year ago after being there for two years. I struggled with self-harm and thoughts of suicide, which is what caused me to get admitted.

“When I came here, I still had a few issues, but I got over them due to the people who were here as they helped me. They didn’t push me away or tell me to leave if I was struggling.

“I really don’t think I’d be alive without them because they’ve given me the motivation to see life for what it is again, which is great.”

Alice joined the Trust’s traineeship programme, which is for NEET individuals – those aged 16 to 24 who are not in education, employment, education or training – and now hopes to work as a football coach.

“I’ve got such a strong love for football and I feel that would be a positive step for me,” she said. “I hope to become a fully-qualified coach and have a positive effect on people.

“Kids bring a lot of joy to me because they are very hopeful and optimistic about things. One bit of reassurance from a coach or a teacher makes them feel a lot better about themselves because they’re always in need of reassurance.

“Knowing that I could help someone in the future is what I want to do and I’m on an apprenticeship now, so it’s all going in the right direction.”

Scott Atkinson, the Trust’s head of education & wellbeing, said: “What Alice was really in need of was something that was more than an education programme and could provide emotional support.

“She needed something that could nurture her and build her self-esteem, confidence and resilience and develop her communication skills, to really get her believing in herself.”

The traineeship programme takes place over a 12-week period with new cohorts starting every six weeks. The next cohort begins on January 13.

To enquire about the opportunities to take part in the traineeship programme, please email scottatkinson@spireitestrust.org.uk