By 18, Michael, from Bedfordshire, was homeless. His relationship with his family had collapsed, forcing him to leave. He felt life had no meaning and he was on a destructive path, until a friend intervened.
Michael moved into a hostel and, after being unemployed for 12 months, his Jobcentre adviser had recommended our Get into Railways programme.
“I knew nothing about trains. But the taster day opened my eyes to all the opportunities and I thought: ‘This could be my big chance'.”
The four-week programme, which helps unemployed young people find a job in the rail industry, was delivered in partnership with First Capital Connect (FCC). It included sessions on teamwork, becoming more employable and having a positive mental attitude.
"I learned how to never think negative if you're in a bad situation, which had really plagued me before."
For him, our staff stood out most, keeping him going when he felt like giving up.
“They were so encouraging and positive all the time, it made me believe I could do it. I’d never felt like that before, no one had believed in me.”
Michael points out that when his finances hit rock bottom, one of the team organised a bus pass so he could still get to sessions.
Despite a long commute and 5am starts, Michael enjoyed his two-week placement at King’s Cross and St Pancras stations in London. FCC offered him a full-time job and he now checks tickets at Luton Airport Parkway.
"Looking at my first wage slip, I felt this was the start of something good. Before doing the Get into Railways programme I didn't think that would ever be something I would get to feel."