Sunderland AFC gets David ‘Back on Track’

David Little left school in 2017 with very few qualifications and low in confidence.  He joined Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light’s, ‘Back on Track’ programme and started a journey with his Football Club that eventually led to him securing full-time employment with a locally based company, ‘Vantec.’ 

The Foundation’s Back on Track programme is specifically designed for students who leave school with little or no qualifications. The programme engages, inspires and educates young people aged 16-19 by helping them achieve nationally recognised qualifications, improve their numeracy and literacy skills and gain practical working experience.

At the start of  the programmes, David often shied away from group tasks causing a knock-on effect to his already low confidence.  Consequently, David struggled with his self-esteem and had no clear vision on what he desired his future to look like and was therefore hesitant on making decisions that would correlate and affect his future.

Despite this, the support and guidance of the Foundation’s staff along with David’s perseverance would eventually pay off.

With programmes ending and unsure about his next steps, David started to experience anxiety. It was then he was told about a potential two-week work placement with Vantec – a logistics solution provider in the automotive parts logistics field.

Determined to grab the opportunity with both hands, David quickly accepted the proposal put forward to him by Foundation staff, with the latter eager to help David prepare as efficiently as possible.

Ahead of his work experience placement in August 2022, David was supported with interview preparation, he received help updating his CV and was provided with useful information around Vantec and who they were as a business.

Despite being very hesitant in the early exchanges of his two-week placement, David grew in confidence, completing tasks on his own and using his own initiative.

While on placement, David was also supported financially, receiving lunch and travel bursaries. Regular site visits were made to catch up with David enabling Foundation staff to find out how he was getting on and if he needed any further support.

At the end of his placement, Vantec offered David a full-time contract. Although Vantec staff felt he still had a lot to learn, they were very impressed with David’s attitude and dedication, which ultimately played a key part in David gaining full-time employment.

Anthony Parkinson, a Skills Officer at the Foundation of Light, has built a good rapport with David, helping him to become more work ready. He said: “David is the epitome of how the Foundation of Light can transform someone’s life.

“Staff that have worked previously with David over the years are really proud of how far he has come. Through hard work and determination, David deserves this opportunity.”

David continues to work at Vantec with his employers very impressed with his development. He added: “I’m loving it so far. I really like it here. Thank you to the Foundation of Light for helping me get this opportunity.”