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Ryan’s formal education ended at the age of 13 when he dropped out of school and “got into all sorts of trouble”. He had some short term jobs but these didn’t amount to much. And although he was always very practical, with a particular knack for fixing bikes, he didn’t put his skills to good use. Ryan may well have carried on his “bad boy” lifestyle, but when he became a father he knew things had to change. He got the chance to do that when a relative introduced him to the Catalyst for Jobs and Skills (CJS) project in Ealing.
Since joining CJS Ryan has developed practical and people skills through qualifications in Facilities Management and Customer Services. With the support of a CJS adviser he successfully applied for an apprenticeship in Catalyst’s Residents Service Team. With a permanent job in sight once his training ends, Ryan is grateful to his manager at Catalyst for seeing his potential. “Anyone else looking at my youth record wouldn’t have given me a chance, but he believed in me,” Ryan explains. “I’m not going to let this opportunity go to waste. I’m happy with myself and proud to work for Catalyst.”
Now 21 and with a two year old daughter to care for, Ryan is planning for their long term future with a new sense of self belief. He still loves fixing bikes. “I like to teach kids to fix their bikes so they don’t have to go home crying that their bike’s been broken. The mums where I live can’t afford to pay for new bikes for their kids.” Ryan wants to open his own chain of bike shops. “I know this is ambitious,” says Ryan. “But I think I can do it within the next ten years.”