What do a young person, a Managing Director, a local charity, a national retailer and the Army have in common? They are all part of a journey originally designed to help Aaron move from worklessness towards employment but which turned out to be something much, much more…

Aaron–The Young Person–the mentee

Aaron, has mingled with business leaders, watched two RWC 2015 matches and met HRH Prince Harry but his achievements have been much more profound and his prospects are even more positive. Aaron joined REEP* after leaving Southbrook School in Exeter and having struggled to get on the employment ladder. Intensely shy, quiet and lacking in self confidence, Aaron worked steadily through the intensive ten day programme presenting his vision of his future to employers on the final day. Working with Dan, his mentor, Aaron formulated an action plan, learnt new skills and gained in confidence through volunteering and working, and recently attended the Army Careers Office. Aaron has a quiet smile, a sense of purpose and now recognises that he has something to contribute too.

Dan–The Managing Director–the mentor

Dan initially became involved in REEP through Astley Media’s generous in-kind PR support of REEP. Intrigued by REEP, Dan volunteered for mentor training and, once completed, he was partnered with Aaron. Dan provides Aaron with continuity. He is a trusted and valued person who has the time and the training to mentor him, as well as providing very practical support. It was Dan who waited anxiously as Aaron went for his interview with the Army. Dan has been on a journey too. He has learnt more about young people and the challenges they face, used his mentoring skills at work and more widely, and become a champion for REEP and now BEEP˚.

Hospiscare–the Local Charity–the placement employer

Hospiscare in Devon provides high-quality care and support to the terminally ill. Much of Hospiscare’s income is derived from their charity shops. Volunteers greet customers, prepare donations for sale and work on the tills. The Cowick Street, Exeter branch and its “happy band” opened its doors to Aaron. More than a staging post, volunteering at Hospiscare has improved Aaron’s confidence, required his commitment, demanded routine and enhanced his skill set. Hospiscare gained a young volunteer, an insight into the challenges facing some young people and met Aaron, someone who will never forget the opportunity to work with Hospiscare.

Tesco–the National Retailer–the employer

Tesco Express in Exwick is Aaron’s employer. Once Aaron had gained confidence and valuable work experience at Hospiscare, he, with new positivity, and Dan began to work on his next steps. Sitting together they researched job adverts and planned a campaign. Aaron’s application to Tesco was successful and now Aaron is part of the Tesco team.

The Army–the destination–the future employer?

For Aaron, a career in the Army has become his destination. Only months ago, this seemed far too remote a dream. But now Aaron’s continued progress through training, mentoring, volunteering, employment and, most recently, his interview with the Army Career’s Office (while Dan waited patiently for him to reappear), make his future career a real possibility!