When David Phillipson left sixth form, he struggled to find employment in his native Newcastle. But thanks to the club he supports he is working hard and helping people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I was just getting unlucky with jobs; I wasn't getting any replies," says David on his attempts to find employment after leaving education.
"I think that it was down to things like my CV not being up to scratch."
Unable to get a job, he was in danger of getting caught in a downward spiral that can affect many young people.
"I had no motivation," he says. "I was thinking, 'What was the point.' I'd given up."
But in January of last year, his local job centre referred David to an employability support programme managed by the charitable foundation of the team he supports, Newcastle United.
The Newcastle United Foundation project supports young people not in education, employment or training, also known as NEET.
It helps them improve their interview techniques and CV writing skills, and introduces them to potential employers.
The project revived David's motivation and his 100 per cent attendance helped grow his confidence socially. Such was his progress, David was given a two-week work experience placement at a local B&M retail store.
""My confidence has improved a lot since I have been employed. I can talk to any customer face to face.""
David has not looked back. His attitude and work ethic during his placement was so impressive that he was offered a permanent contract.
"I got more confident going into the interview for my new job because I had more of an experience of it," he says. "It gave me a big boost."
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the employment prospects of many young people, but, for David, it has provided a chance to shine.
"Everyone was panic-buying," he says. "It's been crazy and I haven't been able to move!"
As a frontline worker, he has been doing additional hours and used the extra money to support his mum, who is shielding at home.
"If I do go for a promotion, I will be able to say that I have worked through a pandemic," he says.
"When I am off, I do chores for my mum because she can't do much. It's been brilliant to be earning so I can help my family."
Even with such success, the Foundation remains there to support David.
The 22-year-old has remained in contact with a dedicated employability coach from the Foundation, who gives him guidance and helps address any problems David may face.
"It's a good thing to have that support behind me," he says. "It makes me feel that I am wanted by them."
During the pandemic, the Newcastle United Foundation and the employability programme have helped other young people into vital employment.
Eight have found work on the frontline, helping their local community as National Health Service 111 call handlers, as carers and in supermarkets.
"We're so proud of how our participants have developed in confidence and applied for the opportunities available to them," said Daniel Hancock, Newcastle United Foundation senior employability coordinator.
David is now an employability ambassador for the Foundation and is testament to the fact that the experience these youngsters receive thanks to the programme will help their future employment prospects in the post-pandemic future.
"For people struggling for work, the course really helps their confidence," he says. "And my confidence has improved a lot since I have been employed."