From education to employment

Middlesbrough College student nails down ambitions despite anxiety struggles

Carpenter Leo has words of wisdom for others

A YOUNG carpenter is rebuilding his life following anxiety struggles that left him feeling he was unable to leave the house. 

And now, 17-year old Leo Evison, from Normanby, Middlesbrough, is speaking out about his past struggles and offering advice to young people in similar situations.

As of June 2019, there were 792,000 young people, aged 16 – 24, in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEETs), an increase of 28,000 from January to March 2019. 

Since enrolling back at Middlesbrough College, Leo has praised his tutors for support that has ‘turned his world around’ and is encouraging other people to not give up on their education. 

He explained: “I’ve always suffered with anxiety but last year, it got so bad that I quit college and couldn’t bring myself to leave the house – and it got to a point where I didn’t think I could make anything of my life. 

“It took me a while to come around and try again but since going back to Middlesbrough College, I feel like a completely different person.

“I feel more confident, I’m able to open up more and have realised I can be someone and do something with my life.

“The support from my tutors and classmates has been invaluable – they’ve always spurred me on and I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

And it’s not just Leo who has noticed a real difference.

Leo’s tutor and Construction Crafts curriculum team leader Jon McCallum can’t believe the change in him, since enrolling back at Middlesbrough College.

He said: “When Leo joined us in construction, he was very tough on himself and very emotional when he failed assignments or struggled with exams.

“However, since working with Leo and coaching him, he has flourished into one of our best students, so much so that we chose him as the ‘Most Improved Student’ in the College awards.

“NEETs statistics are shocking and it’s concerning to see so many young people missing out on brilliant career opportunities – and to think Leo could have been one of them.

“He’s a completely different person now and we want other young people to know there is support and advice available.”

Leo is keen to help other young people with anxiety and/or confidence issues get back into education, training or employment.

He said: “I know it may seem daunting, and there are still days I struggle and don’t think I can do it, but it’s important to remember it’s never as bad as it seems and there are always people who will help you, no matter what.”

Middlesbrough College works with young people across the region to get them back into education, employment or training and is hosting a ‘Go For It’ NEETs event on Wednesday, October 23 from 11am – 2pm. The College’s friendly guidance team will be on hand to offer careers advice and help people enrol on a course straight away, rather than waiting until next September.

The College offers a range of full-time vocational courses to help people back into education. There is also additional support available for students who may need extra help settling in or additional learning support.

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