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Dean's story: “My life has changed quite a bit and it’s pretty good.” - Inspiring Scotland

Case Studies

Dean’s story: “My life has changed quite a bit and it’s pretty good.”


“I was homeless at 16. It was tough. I was alone and living on the streets.”

Dean left home and moved to Oban to escape the emotional and physical abuse he had suffered at the hands of his family since childhood. He soon became homeless and was unable to complete his school exams.

In 2016, Dean moved to Glasgow. Still homeless and facing a high risk of social isolation and long-term unemployment, he was referred to Venture Trust’s Inspiring Young Futures programme. The personal development programme – funded by Inspiring Scotland’s 14:19 Fund for 10 years – is designed for disadvantaged and often vulnerable young people. It supports them to work on skills such as establishing trust, personal boundaries, consequential thinking, problem-solving, dealing with challenging situations, and responsibility and accountability. These life skills need to be acquired before long-term unemployment and the issues this brings can be tackled.

Dean’s past had denied him the opportunities or support to gain the necessary life skills, motivation or confidence to embark on further education or training. This led to a cycle of disengagement with the system, and no way of acquiring the skills required to gain employment.

“My situation weighed a lot mentally which increased my stress and anxiety levels. I was low on confidence and motivation. It would have been easy to just give up. But for me the main thing was to get out of being homeless, get a job and to have some control of my life.

“I wasn’t sure if Venture Trust could help. But they explained what they could do and how with their support I could move towards changing my own situation.”

After completing the personal development programme Dean felt ready to start thinking about employability courses to help him progress into employment in the future. He was accepted onto Venture Trust’s three-week CashBack Change Cycle programme.

The employability programme is funded by the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities which takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them to deliver activities and opportunities for disadvantaged young people. CashBack for Communities is managed on behalf of Scottish Government by Inspiring Scotland.

The elements of the programme include employability sessions, which cover IT skills, CV writing, self-presentation skills, and mock interviews. A workshop experience involves young people building a bike and learning how to maintain it and ride safely in an urban environment. There is also a short wilderness residential that has work-related tasks, and mountain biking.

Along with pedalling away with several qualifications including bike mechanic awards, Employability Award SCQF Level 4, manual handling, first aid and fire safety awards, participants learn about responsibility and getting up to be at a job Monday to Friday. They get to keep the bike they have built and use it for job hunting, accessing services, training, getting to work, and leisure.

“The programmes make you challenge yourself and develop the confidence and motivation to want to go on further with your life. I was able to build up the skills I would need for looking for and getting a job as well as keeping one,” Dean said.

Dean is now doing his apprenticeship as a vehicle technician with one of the UK’s largest independently owned car retailers. And he has his own flat.

“My life has changed quite a bit and it’s pretty good.”


Watch Dean tell his story in Venture Trust’s video

Venture Trust supports young people who have experienced, or are facing, ‘severe and multiple disadvantages’ to reach their full potential. For more information visit:

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