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Alloa teenager Rhiannon is overcoming her own challenges to achieve her ambitions of making a difference in the lives of others after receiving support from Skills Development Scotland's (SDS) Next Steps programme. 

After a bad experience at school and struggling with her mental health, Rhiannon was put in touch with her local SDS centre by her school careers adviser.

Rhiannon signed up to SDS’s Next Steps programme, which offers intensive careers information, advice and guidance support to unemployed young people aged 16 to 18-and-a-half.

At her first appointment with careers adviser Nicole, Rhiannon shared her background, spoke about her fears and her aspirations too. She revealed that she enjoys acting, and one day wants to set up therapeutic drama classes for young people with mental health issues. 

Nicole started to explore ways in which she could work towards this. Rhiannon was hesitant at first, but after talking it through with Nicole, she decided to apply for college. 

She took ownership of her application, working on her personal statement and deciding which course and college would best suit her needs. She was soon invited to interview.

“I feel like the services I used at SDS and the help from Nicole was extremely beneficial and was definitely the reason that I am where I am today. It was a very helpful service with no judgement and really did feel like everyone wanted the best for me and everyone else that was there.”

She and Nicole looked at the interview and audition process and arranged a mock interview with one of the trainee careers advisers in the centre. With some positive feedback and a few pointers, she started to feel more confident and went for the interview. She was offered a place to start in August. 

The centre team also supported Nicole in developing her CV and building her career management skills. She is now working part-time and is also a panel member for her local Youth Commission on Mental Health Services. 

Rhiannon said: “I feel like the services I used at SDS and the help from Nicole was extremely beneficial and was definitely the reason that I am where I am today. It was a very helpful service with no judgement and really did feel like everyone wanted the best for me and everyone else that was there.”  

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