We equip people with the tools to work through transitions in their lives - MIke Strang

Change is a natural part of life. We experience transitions in school, work, relationships, as well as global and societal changes. Transitions may be planned and are the next step in achieving personal aspirations – something to work towards and celebrate. In other instances, change can be unexpected and involve a great deal of loss, whether that’s relationships or loss of our place in the world.

Mike Strang, Venture Trust Interim Chief Executive Officer
Mike Strang, Venture Trust Interim Chief Executive Officer

One of the most significant societal changes is ‘the job for life’ is a thing of the past. We need to do more now than teach young people and adults vocational skills to succeed in life, we need to equip young people with the skills, confidence, and resilience to manage transitions, planned or unexpected. Skills Development Scotland’s Skills 4.0; ‘a skills model to drive Scotland’s Future’ describes career management skills and the need to adapt to a fluid world of work.

What then if we add in the effects of the pandemic, how do we as society transition back to ‘a new normal’ and more importantly how do we play our part in balancing inequalities and supporting others. People will need to transition from a year of furlough, job loss, housing loss, and social isolation. As the furlough scheme comes to an end it is likely we will see further unemployment. The mental health emergency worsens, the justice system is creaking at the seams and education and training opportunities have been disrupted. The Scottish Government has highlighted the crucial need to tackle these issues in recovery. But it will take a joined-up approach from across the public, private and the third sector.

Venture Trust works with people facing the challenges of significant transitions in life. This includes young people moving into work, training or study after being trapped in the cycle of long-term unemployment, people leaving supported accommodation and settling into independent living, people involved in the criminal justice system transitioning to a life without crime or life after custody and veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. These are significant changes in life. However we can all learn to build resilience which will help us reduce stress and anxiety when going through these moments in life.

To equip people with the tools needed to work through transition we use the outdoors to build progressive challenge into our programmes of personal development. We provide a safe space for people to explore and understand their behaviours, present a microcosm of community in our residential elements, and give space and support to develop skills and awareness to take a positive and contributory role in community and wider society.

Potential can be realised when individuals come to a place of acceptance that change, and transitions are a normal part of life. To support individuals in this process, we work with them to express their feelings during this change and use it as an opportunity reflect on their goals and aspirations in life.

One of our participants Shaun sums it up best: “I began to see my own potential. I realised it was up to me to make different decisions and take different actions. But I also needed support to do that. I can’t believe the chaos that consumed my life is now gone.”

Shaun transitioned from a world of suffering with mental health and problem substance use to one where he gained a degree and is now working to support others who are walking in his old boots.

As Shaun’s story shows, one of the most important skills to build is the ability to ask for help. People will need more support than ever emerging from lockdown. Venture Trust is here to help. We are all transitioning.

For more information about Venture Trust visit our website: www.venturetrust.org.uk

Mike Strang, Venture Trust Interim Chief Executive Officer


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