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'PL Works and Watford got me a job and confidence'

17 Jun 2017
Chey Thompson, Premier League Works

Chey Thompson on how his nerves about a speech impediment were lifted to boost job prospects

Chey Thompson has always wanted a career in football coaching. 

To help fulfil his dream, the 24-year-old helped in soccer schools and gained qualifications such as his FA Level 1 coaching badge and BTEC Diploma in Sport. 

He was still without full-time employment, however, and was attending regular appointments at his local job centre in Harrow. 

But that changed when welfare-to-work provider Reed in Partnership introduced Chey to the Watford FC Community Sports & Education Trust and their employability officer Tony Oliver in March. 

"I was nervous at first but he has been the most humble guy I have ever met," Chey says. "He encouraged me to go on the Premier League Works course.

"It was a big opportunity to get on the path I wanted to be on."

Chey Thompson, Premier League Works
Chey is now a volunteer coach on Watford FC Community Sports & Education Trust's PL Kicks programme, Harrow Works

PL Works offers young people a route into education, training or employment by focusing on developing employability, communication and teamwork skills.

The programme is run by 24 Premier League and Football League clubs. 

Chey started the programme, Harrow Works, in April, attending three days a week.

Through it he has been involved in sports leadership activities and CV clinics as well as picking up interview techniques and hearing from mentors in business.

The course has also been a big help to Chey in another important way.

"I have a speech impediment and interviews can be scary at times," he says. "But this has given me a lot of confidence."

Chey last week began working at a DIY store and has also started volunteering as a Premier League Kicks coach at Cedars Youth & Community Centre, in Harrow.

Chey Thompson, Premier League Works
Chey receives his volunteering certificate at Vicarage Road

"I enjoy every moment of it," he says. "Everyone is friendly and nice. I stammer sometimes but I have learnt to control it and the kids don't take advantage.

"Being a Watford coach is quite amazing. For me just to boost my confidence and to add that experience onto my resume has really helped me."

To recognise his progress and his hard work, Chey was presented with a certificate at Vicarage Road as part of National Volunteer Week.

He is now being lined up as a mentor for new Premier League Works participants in September.

"PL Works is a new experience, a new opportunity and gives good guidance for people who are looking for work or who do not know what their career plan is," he says.

"I love every moment of it.

"If it wasn't for Tony and Jemima from Reed in Partnership, I would probably be struggling more, looking for work and in and out of the job centre."

See: What is Premier League Works?

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