James (Pathway Student)




James started the Pathways Programme with Helm on 18th August 2015. He was in his final year of secondary education but could no longer stay on in his mainstream school due to an attendance rate of only 25% in the current year and 32% the preceding year. Dundee City Council’s offsite education team reviewed the options for James and referred him to us. Helm are a commissioned alternative educational provider, and it was felt we could provide a good fit for his needs and interests.

James’ first day involved an induction session and a chance to meet all the other students who started with us that same day. It was evident from the start that James was going to get on very well at Helm. He was well-mannered, easy to get along with, and very helpful in class. He achieved all of his Level 3 Core Skills, soon followed by his Level 4’s and by November 2015 James had achieved his Level 5 Core Skills qualifications.

Helm run a Landscaping Project called GreenShoots and James was very keen to become involved in this. He felt that it would help him gain hands-on practical work experience, and it would also help him develop team working and communication skills. After liaising with Peter and Steven (the GreenShoots instructors) we decided that James would assist with the Landscaping on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. After week one Peter and Steven were singing James’ praises. He was an excellent worker — he would muck in with all jobs regardless of how dirty. He never questioned what was asked of him, he just got on with it.

The Dryburgh Project then started. Abertay Housing Association team and residents had asked if we could develop a new garden where the residents could enjoy the outdoors in a peaceful, relaxing environment. James was heavily involved with this and he was asked to attend the grand opening on 16th May 2016 to cut the ribbon where he was presented with a plaque.

Because James matured at a faster pace than others in his group a decision was made to integrate James with the older Employability Fund trainees. This was to allow him to gain more qualifications, and also to allow him the chance to flourish in an environment in which he felt comfortable.

Building on established relationships, at 16 he then progressed to our Employability Fund programme, funded by Skills Development Scotland and began working on the Employability units and successfully completed Skills for Customer Care Level 4, Working for Yourself Level 4, Steps to Work Level 4 Award, Employability Level 4 Award and his Certificate of Work Readiness Award. Due to his ongoing placement with GreenShoots he also gained his Level 4 Work Experience Unit.

James also gained a work experience placement with a local roofing company, which he thoroughly enjoyed. His hard work, dedication and enthusiasm to learn had potential employers trying desperately to source money to fund an apprenticeship for James but unfortunately they didn’t get the funding.

James has used his qualifications and work experience to help residents in his local community enjoy a lovely space in their new garden. He has also been given the opportunity to make potential employers aware of how willing he is to succeed in gaining permanent employment. He has gone from strength to strength in his personal development by building his confidence, self-esteem and attendance rate (currently sitting between 97-100%).

James continued to gain SQA qualifications, attend the Landscaping Project and then started in a work placement with Martin Allan Civil Engineering. While there, he passed his CSCS card (Health and Safety) and gained his Roller and Dumper Certificate. As he was such a hard-working individual who had gained his necessary certificates, Martin Allan Civil Engineering Company offered James a job as a trainee Groundsman with the opportunity to progress.

We are incredibly proud of what James has achieved at Helm, and wish him all the best for his future success.