BP Young Leaders Programme Supports Youngsters and Elite Athletes
A programme that brought together disadvantaged youngsters and elite athletes to mark the 2014 Commonwealth Games has been described as ‘an amazing journey’ by double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes. As the ‘BP Young Leaders’ graduate from the 18-month mentoring and development programme, BP Magazine meets some of the individuals involved.
Following the success of the inaugural BP Young Leaders Programme during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, more than 50 young people in Scotland have taken part in the second programme of its kind – this time to mark the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Supported by BP, the initiative brings together the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Inspiring Scotland and a number of other partner organizations that work in five areas of the country: Aberdeen, Shetland, Falkirk, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The 18-month training programme, designed to improve communication, confidence and chances of employment, has seen the young people participate in a number of community projects and earn qualifications in a range of vocational skills. World-class elite athletes mentored the Young Leaders, as well as BP staff.
For many of the 17 to 21-year-olds, the opportunity to volunteer at last summer’s Commonwealth Games proved the highlight of the programme. As the young people now move on to pursue jobs, education and other forms of training, those involved reflect on the legacy of the BP Young Leaders Programme 2014:
The young leaders
Originally from Morocco, Tarek* arrived in Shetland aged 16 and slept on the streets. While receiving support from the local Bridges Project to complete his education, he also discovered a talent for athletics. “I heard about the BP Young Leaders Programme 2014 through my involvement with youth services and I wanted to be part of it, to volunteer in the community and help out at the Commonwealth Games. As a result of the programme, I’ve moved to the mainland to complete a course in personal training and run some boxing sessions.
“It’s been great to meet the athletes and hear their amazing stories – it made me think ‘I could be good at something like that’.” Tarek has now completed a sports mentoring course at a Glasgow college and been accepted to join a further course in sports training skills. He is settled with his wife and baby daughter and learning to drive thanks to the BP Young Leaders Programme 2014.
In foster care since the age of 12, Amelia* had been unemployed for four months before joining the programme. She was prone to depression and panic attacks – but was looking for opportunities to develop her skills and get out of the house. After participating in a number of workshops with the programme and completing a course in emergency first aid, she also worked towards a qualification as a community sports leader. As part of the assessment, she led a three-hour sports session with 12 primary school children.
Today, Amelia has a job in administration and is studying health and social care at college, as she wants to become a paramedic. To that end, she is also learning to drive through the programme.
I feel really proud to have seen the amazing journey the Young Leaders have been on; the confidence they now have is incredible and knowing that 87% have moved into training, employment or education makes me feel good, because that’s what we set out to achieve.”
– Dame Kelly Holmes