Matt Small was low on confidence when he walked through the doors of Skills Training UK’s Dudley Centre for the first time.
The 20-year-old had previously spent two years studying towards a Travel and Tourism course at Dudley College, but he left without a clear career path or fully developed personal skills.
He visited his local Jobcentre Plus and was recommended to forge a new future with Skills Training UK.
Over the next six months, Matt developed his confidence and teamwork, gained industry-recognised qualifications, and made lifelong friends.
“I’ve found the whole experience life-changing,” said Matt.
“I struggled to talk to people before, such as when I did voluntary work, but now I have a lot more confidence and feel like I can talk to anyone. All the tutors were brilliant and supportive, and really helped me whenever I needed them. I can’t thank them enough. I just loved getting on with my work and progressing towards completing my qualifications.
“I’ve also made lots of new friends, which is something I wasn’t expecting. We’ve got a Facebook group chat and meet up a lot. I’m sure these will be friends for life.”
Matt now feels ready to pursue his NHS dream of working as a hospital porter following previous experiences of watching them in action – supporting patients and transporting vital equipment around Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley.
I never thought I’d end up working in the NHS but it’s been so rewarding. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Skills Training UK and I’m incredibly thankful for the skills I learned during my Traineeship and for the tutors who helped build my communication skills.
Matt Small, Traineeship Learner
Matt said: “I’ve been to the hospital a few times and they are always happy and smiling, and talking to patients. Now with my confidence, I would really like to help and talk to these patients as well. This would be a great career for me, and I would be very proud to work for the NHS.”
It was an emotional moment when Matt Small was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Skills Training UK Celebration of Success event in Dudley.
“When they said my name, I didn’t know what was going on,” said Matt, who is a local church youth leader in his spare time.
“I teared up and started crying out of happiness – it was just the emotion. It meant so much to me.”
The deserved recognition for his hard work and positive attitude took place in front of proud family, friends and tutors – and capped off a remarkable experience for Matt.
Suzanne Baker, Centre Manager at Dudley, said: “We’re so pleased for Matt. He is a kind-hearted individual who offers friendship and support to everyone.
“He displayed exceptional manners, attendance and teamwork during his programmes, and we know he will go on to do great things and achieve his dreams.”