Romeo's Story

Sport is not only fun, it's also an incredibly powerful tool that in an age of continuing austerity, can be a cost-effective way to address unemployment, having a lasting impact on society.

Vi-Ability is working in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich to deliver its award-winning ‘Run the club’ programme that teaches key commercial skills to young people through the lens of sports management. It is an eight-week programme which has a range of awards and qualifications embedded within it including a Level 2 BTEC Award in the ‘Commercialisation of Football’.

Romeo moved to London in 1999 with his mother. He studied accounting and finance at the University of West London. Before engaging with us he was a 23-year-old, with a degree in finance, struggling to find employment. Unfortunately, he is not alone, there were 800,000 young people (aged 16 to 24) in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) (ONS Statistics: March 2017). Romeo was in and out of jobs and he began to lose motivation and confidence when seeking work.

Vi-Ability first met Romeo at a taster session which introduced young people to the type of activities during the programme. Romeo met with Toby, our Senior Trainer where they discussed the opportunity for him to develop a broad range of skills from community engagement to enterprise and marketing, as well as the 1-1 support where pathways are put in place to help each individual to achieve their own personal aspirations. From that moment on he was super engaged and really wanted to discover more, not only about the football industry itself but how Vi-Ability could support him into a job that reflects his needs and ambitions.

Romeo enrolled on our Run the Club programme in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, alongside this Romeo started working with Crystal Palace where he began coaching across South London where he found a passion for supporting young people.

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Lead tutor Karl comments on Romeo’s journey: “Throughout the programme, Romeo showed huge levels of professionalism in how he conducted himself whilst working both individually and within group work. Romeo has also received support from Crystal Palace FC Foundation where he has gained experience in a coaching and mentoring role, he has realised that offering opportunities and supporting others was an area within the industry he really felt was for him. “

Romeo says: “ Vi-Ability has helped me to further develop my social skills, and as a result allowing me to gain more confidence. I learnt a great deal about how football clubs operate behind the scenes and found out other jobs within football besides playing & coaching. Vi-ability provided a platform in which I could grow; a great programme which is football related but also teaches relevant life and work skills.“

Romeo is now shadowing our senior trainers and is completing a Level 3 in Education and training, funded by Vi-Ability,  which will allow him to deliver our Run the Club programme. He is also a mentor and role model to other young people on the programmes, he supports individuals on a 1-1 basis, providing advice and guidance to people, like him, who may have struggled with their self-confidence and motivation.

“As Romeo continued to learn about the industry and what it offers throughout the Run the Club programme, it became clear his knowledge and motivation towards football would be of huge benefit to not only us as a Social Enterprise, but also to our future learners. It is very rewarding that just two months after completing the programme, I now see Romeo still as determined as ever, shadowing Vi-Ability staff and learning the key methods of our delivery, which will allow Romeo to improve professionally and support more young people into work across London. Romeo is a huge asset to Vi-Ability and we look forward to welcoming him to our training team. " Karl Sear, Area Manager London.

So far the Vi-Ability programme has been hugely successful in Greenwich and we are pleased to announce that this partnership will be continued into 2018.. to date 75% of young people who have been through Run the Club have gone on to secure positive outcomes, and 95% achieved at least two recognised qualifications and five soft skill outcomes. For more information on our programme you can watch our short video or please contact Karl@vi-ability.org to have an informal discussion on the support we can offer to more young people like Romeo.