Crystal Palace club captain Scott Dann and teammate Martin Kelly paid a morale-boosting visit to a group of young people seeking employment opportunities.
The Employability programme, run by the Crystal Palace Football Club Foundation, helps 16-25 year olds in south London prepare for the world of work. Most are from challenging backgrounds and many have been referred by social care teams, probation services and young offenders’ agencies.
Now in its third year, the 12-week programme teaches them basic skills they will need in the workplace, making them more attractive to employers. In the last two years, 29 young people have been successfully put through the programme and this year the aim is to make another 20 work-ready, teaching them about interview techniques, writing a CV and how to search for the right job.
12 of the young people are taking an FA Level 1 coaching badge as part of the programme, giving them a useful qualification at the end of the 12 weeks. Teaching them the basics of football coaching also keeps them motivated and focused during the course.
Kelly was impressed with the attitude of the young people he met at the Borough Sports Ground in Sutton during Tuesday’s visit, saying: "You can tell in the lads' eyes they're here to learn and they want to make something of themselves. They will look back later in life and realise they became a better person by doing a course like this."
One of the youngsters, Harrison Hart (17), from Croydon, said: "The work we do in the classroom is really testing, we've learned how to have a positive attitude and how to come across well."
Susan Patterson-Smith, Education, Training & Employability Manager at CPFC Foundation added: "This programme gets hard to reach young people in the right mindset to get ready for work. By having practical sessions we are able to keep the group engaged throughout the 12 weeks."