DCH funded Change Direction programme concludes.

Plymouth residents Mellissa Bowen, 18 and Beth Penwarden, 22 have successfully completed UKSA’s ground-breaking Unlocking Potential programme; which gives the students the chance to get their lives back on track.

DCH funded the course to help the young people overcome life’s barriers to employment and training. The course allows participants to use on-the-water activities as the catalyst for positive change, giving them the chance to get their lives back on track.

Paul Marshall, DCH Director of Community Engagement said: “This project is really exciting, providing a unique route for our young residents to develop their confidence and skills, broadening opportunities through an innovative programme. We are delighted that we’ve been able to have such a positive impact in partnership with UKSA and it’s another great example of how DCH are continuing to invest in the people in our communities and their futures.”

The young people took part in the four-week residential course after referral from DCH. The highly successful course combines on-water experiences with work experience in the local community. Importantly, participants find the healthy routine and positive environment of UKSA raises their aspirations, motivates them and gives them qualifications to enable them to seek work. They are all offered one-to-one mentoring and support, and careers guidance as part of the programme.
Course participant Beth explained; “I was not initially comfortable with doing the course due to my depression and anxiety. This made it really hard for me to get up each day, but the course has helped me to become more determined and approach each day with a more positive attitude”

This is the first time UKSA has delivered the programme in the West of England, following successful courses along the South Coast, Kent and Essex. As a youth charity, UKSA don’t just provide qualifications but life-changing and life-enhancing opportunities

Simon Davies, Director of Youth Development and fundraising explained; “Over the four weeks, the young people have worked on a variety of activities to build their confidence and self-esteem, as we see them graduating today, they are walking taller. The course he proved pivotal in the world of youth development where 50% of programme participants have found employment following the course.”

UKSA has an impressive track record delivering to young people who are at risk of becoming long-term unemployed, who are in need of support, guidance and professional direction. Their courses use sailing and watersports to develop both life and work skills for 18-24 year olds and have a 48% success rate at getting participants in to employment.