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Neal inspires young people

27 August 2013

Street League helps change lives through football

AFC Wimbledon and Street League joined forces to provide a day to remember for 20 young people as they watched first-team training, enjoyed a tour of the Cherry Red Records Stadium and participated in mock interviews.

Wimbledon’s award-winning Community Football Scheme (CFS) have been working with Street League, a nationwide academy which aims to increase the prospects of unemployed 16-24 year olds, to help change lives through football.

, Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs for the PM, also took part in the mock interviews.Kate Joseph (a trustee of Street League) and Tim Kiddell’s speech writer David Cameron. Prime Minister Jeremy Sauer and Academy Operations Manager Phil Clark, Head of Safety Erik Samuelson, Chief Executive Neal ArdleyAs part of this aim, students in the fourth week of an eight-week Street League course were ‘interviewed’ by an AFC Wimbledon contingent including first-team manager

to view a selection of photographs from the day.More pictures  Neal Ardley is pictured with Street League academy students above and click on 

, a 24-year-old from Kennington, because he has so far never been formally interviewed for a job. It was therefore a particularly useful experience for Cameron, who was on the receiving end of one or two searching questions from Neal Ardley.Cameron Scott-MarchantThis proved to be invaluable for Street League student

Cameron said: “Back when Wimbledon played at Selhurst Park I watched them play and I told Neal that I thought he was a good player back then! It was enjoyable doing a mock interview with Neal and I want to make myself more employable through the Street League course. I was a painter and decorator for a company up until a year ago, but they ran into money problems and I was made redundant. I have had five jobs in my life so far, but none of them involved formal interviews. This was good practice for me so that I know how to conduct myself if I get an interview.

“I really enjoyed seeing what goes on at a football club today. First-team training was great, but I also never realised how much paperwork needs to be done behind the scenes in the offices.”

, a Youth and Community Coach at Street League, after he saw him playing football at a local park. Niven is a success story of the Street League Academy as he progressed from being a student in February to earning a full-time job after his volunteering work impressed staff.Niven NkhansahCameron was recruited by

He said: “It has been a fantastic partnership between Street League and AFC Wimbledon so far. AFC Wimbledon are a family club at the heart of their community and today provided a very positive environment for people on the course. I got quite a few enquiries about what we do after our partnership with AFC Wimbledon was announced on the club website. I had enquiries about the courses and coaching opportunities; there are several potential routes that people can go down.”

Neal Ardley was delighted to play his part, which also involved a Q & A with the youngsters at the training ground in New Malden in the morning.

“I asked them what stood out about first-team training and what we were trying to achieve,” said Neal. “Then I had a chat with them about life in general and tried to pass on some advice. Ultimately, I said that there are professional standards in football, but these are valuable for all walks of life; being on time and making sure you are proactive before problems occur. These are qualities that are important in football, but also in life generally.”

David Cameron’s private secretary for Foreign Affairs, Kate Joseph, recalled being interviewed for her current job two years ago by the Prime Minister and she was pleased to pass on one or two tips on the day.

“It was nice for me to come down and chat with people who are trying to make a real difference to their lives,” she said. “I also enjoyed getting out of the office for a change, particularly because I am a Wimbledon supporter. I have not been to a match for a couple of years because my day job takes up a lot of time, but I am still a member of the Dons Trust.

“Interviews can be very nerve-racking and this is good practice for young people.”

 .AcademyFor information about joining a Street League Academy, please contact Niven Nkansah on 07510 047524 or e-mail him by clicking on 

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