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Rio Ferdinand Foundation: Positive Pathways project takes place in London, Doncaster, Manchester and Belfast

Find out about the work the Rio Ferdinand Foundation does with the help of The Supporters Club.

Rio Ferdinand Foundation

Elisha is a 19-year-old male from Manchester who attended the first BT Bootcamp and Work Placement opportunity. Elisha wasn’t attending college or university and felt unsure about what decision to make about a career, whether that was a job/apprenticeship/traineeship.

He had a passion for music and wanted to explore this further, however had no motivation or connections to know where to start. His family wanted Elisha to learn a trade and encouraged him to go for the BT work-ready opportunity with RFF.

Elisha said: "I wasn’t doing anything with my life and felt like I had nothing to lose by trying something new and local to me. On the work placement, I struggled with the classroom environment and only continued to turn up and take part for the work placement opportunity. I wanted to learn hands-on work experience and skills. Working outside, learning on the job was brilliant for me.

"I was really interested in my mentor’s job and going out to fit internet was only a small part. I learnt about how important customer service was and just chatting to people, the social skills I’d forgotten because I’d sit at home in my room and listen to music all the time. I didn’t expect what to happen once the work placement ended with BT."

Elisha completed the work placement and became much more motivated to go for his goal in becoming a music producer and artist. He reached out to local contacts and started to meet up and experiment with different musicians, made his first record and promoted it with the support from the contacts he had developed from just starting a conversation.

Elisha added: "I put together my own album and then pushed it out online as much as possible. They played my song on the radio! Now I’m going for interviews to speak about the next steps with my music. I’m collaborating with other artists and have been invited to play live at a festival in London.

"I can’t believe this has happened. I know if I hadn’t pushed myself out of my comfort zone with BT I never would’ve picked up the phone to start making connections within the music industry. It’s given me the self-belief and motivation to go for what I always wanted, and my family are incredibly proud of me."

The Supporters Club enabled RFF staff and youth workers to support some of the beneficiaries, such as Elisha, prior to the work placement starting by providing encouragement and mentoring to help them feel like they could step outside of their comfort zones and try something new.

After completing the placement with BT, some of the beneficiaries required 1-2-1 support to keep their motivation and engagement in applying themselves to the next suitable opportunity.

Our referral partners ensured they continued to be supported into their next steps via further training, and this continued personal and professional development wouldn’t have been possible without The Supporters Club. Elisha felt inspired to start making his own contacts, however he knew RFF were always on hand to support should he need any help.

Without The Supporters Club Elisha felt that he would’ve struggled getting into anything. This first step into the workplace meant that he had focused support and 1-2-1 encouragement with like-minded people, an opportunity to learn in a safe environment, brilliant references for his CV, and now further support to becoming a music artist!