Spear is a programme operated at various locations in London by Resurgo Trust which was founded out of Holy Trinity Brompton.
The Spear programme helps 16-24-year-olds,who are not in education, employment or training, into work or training in partnership with employers. Spear has supported over 4,000 unemployed young people in the past decade. 75% remain in work a year later.
The course takes place currently at eight centres over six weeks - Monday to Friday, 3 hours per day. That helps 700 youngsters every year. They continue to support each young person for a year afterwards to help them enter into employment and progress up the career ladder.
Harrison was one of the people helped. He was a gang member on the streets of London. He was kicked out of school five days before his GSCEs were due to start after police were called to an incident. He went to college but was arrested there after 20 days and could not continue. So no qualifications, no job and so the inevitable happened - he turned to gangs and violence and doing what was necessary to get money.
After being stabbed by a rival gang and losing a friend to gang violence, his mother prevailed on him to attend Spear, which he did with little interest. However, the first session was an eye-opener - "These people actually sound like they care. They sound like they've got a passion for helping young people."
Harrison continues the story after coming out of the course:
"Before I used to get violent and used to be aggressive and I would hit somebody or something, or break something or throw something. But the point where I'm at now where I won't raise my voice and I won't use foul language. I'll just come at you with relevant points to get my point of view across, so that you understand me. Spear's helped me change that mindset.
"I started coaching youngsters down by a local fishing lake. Spear taught me to be professional when I approached somebody. And be gentle, give a firm handshake and make eye contact with people.
"There was one boy that I was teaching, and one day his dad approached me and said, "Look, I've got a good friends, a few CEO's that are the heads of businesses. Why don't I put a pitch to them and kind of see where it goes from there." Two or three days later, I got a phone call. It was a CEO and he said, 'Look, meet with me tomorrow at nine o'clock on the dot.' I got the train in to central London, which I'd never really been up to. So I didn't really feel like I fitted in. I went in to this big business and looked in to this flashy office, and when I went in to the interview, I had tonnes of confidence, knowing that I can be smart, can be professional and know how to talk in a professional manner.
"Now I'm working for a global recruitment agency. I work personally alongside the CEO. I'm travelling to meetings all over the country and I love it with a passion. On the weekends, I can't wait for Monday to come back around, just so I can get back to work.
"If I hadn't done Spear, I'd have been on two paths, either dead or in jail, or still out in the streets waiting for one of those things to happen. I just want to go back to Spear and say, 'Look, thank you very much for everything you've done for me and helped me bring the best side of myself out, because what you do is remarkable. You've managed to take a kids that was on the streets and managed to make me do a 180 and turn my life around and go in a complete different direction. So again, thank you to the coaches and everything that you've done for me.' And that's my story."
Listen to Harrison here in this 7 minute video:
Spear - run by eight churches - making a difference.
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