"I was diagnosed with ADHD and I wasn’t motivated to learn at all. But I enrolled on a course with Vi-Ability and now I’ve got a full-time job."
Jake (17) was diagnosed with ADHD only a year ago. Jake says: “I really didn’t enjoy school from a young age, I struggled a lot in class and found it too much. I found concentrating really hard and often got distracted by other things, which led to me being thrown out of class and I wasn’t motivated to learn at all’’.
When asked why he got diagnosed at such a late stage, Jake went on to say that ‘I found it hard to express my feelings. One minute I would be fine and then next I would get really angry; and I would not be very nice to my family, friends or teachers – I’d get overwhelmed with emotions, and as a result would try an hide it by walking away. Luckily growing up I had play stations and games to keep me occupied. I’ve also played football and rugby since I can remember, and I found sport stopped me being so pent up’.
From speaking to Jakes mum, she said ‘He is the youngest of four siblings and he had always been labeled ‘the naughty one’ at school and by friends; we never really understood why he was doing things. He went through a tough time in his teens. Jake’s two brothers and sister were top students and he felt he couldn’t compete with them, and went the opposite way. He has always been inquisitive and had an adorable ‘cheekiness’ about him, and he naturally befriended most people in school, but struggled to get the acceptance from teachers and we feel he struggled in formal teaching settings and was often disruptive. This led Jake to be in bottom sets and he came away from school with only 4 GCSE’s”.
At 17, with a few qualifications – Jake didn’t really know what to do. Being unemployed and having nothing to do led him into a downward spiral, and he lost all motivation to work. With nothing to do Jake says, “I got bored easily and played computer games all day, I didn’t really get up in the mornings or leave the house to see friends as had no money to do anything”.
Jake’s social Isolation in these dark days led to him finding it hard to be around other people, and with his condition he didn’t really know how to act in groups of people and amongst friends.
When Jake’s sister heard about the course Vi-Ability were running at Port Talbot Town Football Club, she thought it would be perfect for Jake as he has always been passionate about sport. She felt learning the business side of sport would really help him to regain and develop his confidence & self-esteem, and gain new transferable skills that would enable him to progress and become economically active in the future.
Jake enrolled and excelled on the course, the informal teaching setting was perfect for him, and the opportunity to use digital tablets to do research and activities really interested & engaged the group.
Jake completed his BTEC award in the business of Sport with flying colours.
During the course he was shown how to complete job applications and given mentoring and support on enhancing his own CV. In the later stages of the course, Jake got a phone call that his application to work in Manufacturing had been accepted and was invited to interview. He had already learnt new interview skills during the course so he was more than ready, and he was offered a full time job the following week.
‘’I was so happy to be offered a job, but sad to leave the course as I was enjoying it so much. But I really have made some good friends, and can’t thank Vi-Ability enough for their support - they really do care about you as an individual”.
We caught up with Jake 3 months later to find out how he was doing….
Q. How are you finding work?
‘’I am really enjoying work, I have so much more freedom and it is great earning your own money, it is helping me to learn to drive which will give me even greater independence’’.
Q. How have things changed for you?
‘’It has given me motivation to get up in the mornings and into a routine. I used to go to sleep really late and get up in the afternoons, as I didn’t really have anything to do in the day. Being on the course, and now having a job I can manage my time better. It has helped me communicate better with my family, and we can now talk about work and lots of different things.’’
Q. What would be your advice to others thinking about doing the course?
‘’I would tell all my friends about it, it was nice to be treated like an adult and to go at a pace I felt happy with. The support Vi-Ability has given has been awesome, and it really has made a difference to my life”.