IT’S an initiative renowned for changing lives and creating opportunities – and after three years, the current phase of Celtic FC Foundation’s CashBack Gateway to Employment is drawing to a close.
Delivered by Celtic FC Foundation and funded by Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities initiative, Gateway to Employment is a bespoke, 10-week employability and personal development project aimed at young adults aged between 16 and 25 who have offended, are at risk of (re)offending, or live in an area with a high risk of crime.
Across three years and nine intakes, the project structure has comprised of personal development planning, workplace skills, mentoring, one-to-one support and offering training avenues, further education, volunteering and jobs.
Since 2014, CashBack Gateway to Employment has made a difference to around 118 individuals, with around 52 moving into employment, 22 realising training opportunities and nine progressing into education.
Significantly, the remarkable success of the project is set to continue with the imminent launch of a fourth phase of Gateway to Employment, promising more positive outcomes and increased opportunities for those in need across Glasgow.
Earlier this year, we heard from current Celtic FC Foundation Community Coach and former participant, Patrick O’Sullivan, as he shared his story and discussed the project’s profoundly positive personal impact upon him.
Click HERE to hear Patrick tell his story to Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers
Similarly, 24-year-old project participant, Michael Duffy, spoke of his gratitude at finding direction and purpose from employability initiatives on the course, revealing how Gateway to Employment had considerably boosted his future prospects.
Reflecting on his experience with Gateway to Employment, Michael said: “More than anything, this project has shown that there are people out there who won’t turn their back on you and will help those who’ve got a criminal record and are trying to change.
“Since the project, I’m now in full-time employment and that’s a real testament to Celtic FC Foundation. Their approach is spot-on and they know how to treat the guys, everyone feels like an equal.
“Before joining the course, I was in prison and I’d lost my career within the armed forces. My biggest fear was how I was going to support my family as I was struggling to find work and I absolutely did not want to go back to crime. So, coming here, the guys helped me and with their support, I found a job and it’s carried on from there, it’s terrific.
“I have a clear sense of what’s ahead as I focus on my career and family – I’m no longer consumed with regret and I’m really looking forward to my future.”
Commenting on the overall success of Gateway to Employment, Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton, said: “I’d like to thank Scottish Government for believing in Celtic FC Foundation’s vision and supporting us to deliver meaningful change. The CashBack Gateway to Employment initiative epitomises the Foundation’s core ethos, as well as enshrining our values around Health, Equality, Learning and Poverty.
“Working directly with individuals from difficult backgrounds and giving people an opportunity to better themselves and improve their situation is hugely important to us. Throughout the last three years, we have sought to address root causes of poverty and reverse cyclical patterns of inequality constraining individuals and their families.
“Looking ahead, this strategy will continue to underpin our employability activities and inform our focus – remain assured, poverty does not rest and neither will we.”
If you wish to register your interest for future intakes or you know a young person who may be at risk of offending or (re) offending, please call 0141 551 4294 or email: [email protected]