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Sunday 02 February 2014

'Prince's Trust scheme gave me new outlook on life'

Get Started with Football programme has helped a Hull youngster turn his life around

  • Former Villa player Taylor met youngsters who had graduated from Villa's course

  • The programme gave Johansson confidence and he is inspiring others (credit: Hull Daily Mail)

Kurt Johansson says the Get Started with Football Programme with Hull City Tigers' Trust not only helped him start a career in football coaching, but the Prince's Trust scheme gave him a "new outlook" on his life as a whole.

The dreams that Johansson had of going to university while at school ended during his time at college, when personal issues affected his attendance, grades and desire to socialise or even leave the house. He applied for more than 100 jobs and spent 10 months on Jobseekers Allowance but his life took a turn for the better when he was referred by the Job Centre to the week-long Get Started with Football scheme at Hull City Tiger’s Trust.

The programme is part of The Prince's Trust Football Initiative, which is run in partnership with the Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA). Johansson believes that the programme helped him mature. Where previously he had relied on others, now he was able to lead and guide others and become more self-reliant.

"I felt like I had a completely new outlook by the time it had finished"
Kurt Johansson

“I had always loved football but I had never thought about a career in it so when I heard about it, I thought, 'Why not?' ” he said. “I’ve never looked back.

“For the first time in a long time I had people who cared and gave me great advice. I grew so much in that week and felt like I had a completely new outlook by the time it finished.”

After his initial week on the programme, Johansson was handed further opportunities through the Trust. Since then, he has completed a Foundation Learning programme and a Level 2 Activity Leadership apprenticeship. This has helped him to become a coach and realise his dream of going to university, where he is studying sports coaching.

Johansson has also done administrative roles within the organisation and provides support for others who have difficulties using IT to create CVs and perform job searches. He also attends other Prince’s Trust Get Started with Football programmes to talk about his experiences and will take part in the International Citizenship Programme through Coaching for Hope, where he will work with disadvantaged young people in Africa.

“Looking back on how low I was, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come,” Johansson said. “I’m now going back to university and working part-time in a job that I love.

"At one point I wouldn’t have even thought this was possible. There are so many other young people who are in the situation I was in but they should know that help is out there for them from charities like The Prince’s Trust.”

Midlands youngsters inspired by Villa's Taylor

The Get Started with Football was also helping young unemployed people in the Midlands last month by offering them the chance to meet former Aston Villa player Ian Taylor at an awards ceremony for their certificate of achievement from the programme.

The people aged 16-25 had just completed a five-day course run in conjunction with Villa. On the course the participants worked towards delivering a coaching session, gaining a level-one football coaching award and they received one-to-one support, which builds their teamwork, communication skills, confidence and motivation. After the programme they will receive 3-9 months of individual support to help them find a job or move into education or further training.

“Football is an inspiring game, which is why schemes like this Prince’s Trust course are great," Taylor said. “It can help give young people focus at a time when many are struggling with their confidence. The group I met today were a fantastic bunch and I wish them all the very best of luck for their future careers.”

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