A 20 year old from Bury, who struggled to find work and experienced depression, accessed free support which has led to an apprenticeship and two award nominations.

Ryan Smith lives with both parents and two siblings. He helps support his family at home due to health difficulties, and was struggling to balance this with finding a job. He also had some difficulties fitting in at school, and experienced some bullying. This affected him significantly and resulted in moderate depression and problems with his confidence.

During a tenancy visit to his home by Six Town Housing, who manage Bury Council’s housing stock, Ryan heard about their free service Steps To Success (STS). STS helps tenants access placements and apprenticeships, and provides workshops to help increase their employability.

He attended a workshop to find out more and was later offered free mentoring and a 6 week work placement at Six Town Housing, assisting with marketing and communications activity within their neighbourhoods team. Ryan’s positive attitude and video production skills were so impressive, that he was then able to access a two year apprenticeship at the company.

The apprenticeship has led to Ryan being nominated in the Most Inspiring Young Tenant category at the Northern Silver Screen Awards, which take place in Manchester in November. The category celebrates tenants who are an inspiration in their community.

Ryan is also shortlisted at next week’s Princes Trust Flying Start Awards, which recognise the efforts of young people who have overcome barriers, transformed their lives and are in sustainable employment.

Ryan said: “Six Town Housing have changed my life massively. Before I was unemployed, not used to a routine and had no money. Now I've a career, a life and everything to look forward to."

Maria Worthington, Business Manager for Neighbourghoods at Six Town Housing, said: “Ryan is really making the most of his apprenticeship and we are so proud this has been recognised at the awards. He has become an ambassador for very service he has received support from and has been working with an agency on its new website. It will be launched in November and will help even more of our tenants access work opportunities and advice.”

The website will be launched at an information event for local businesses in Bury on November 13th. Business owners can find out more by contacting Six Town Housing on 0161 686 8000.

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