Werkcenter Scotland is currently recruiting for the last flow of Journey to Work 3 and first flow of Journey to Work 4. We have seen in the previous programmes From Work to Work, and Journey to work 1 and 2 that participating in the programme Journey to Work empowers and will eventually lead to a better quality of work and life for the participant. The experience of the participants within a highly organized project with clear rules in a new environment will directly activate them to work (in the UK or Europe) and/or a follow up into higher education (e.g. eventually university). In this blog we have asked Jamie Alexander to write a blogs and answer the question, “How much (if any) of your change of life occurred because of the programme or intervention? What are the intended and unintended, positive and negative, long term effects of the programme? Jamie Alexander, currently working as care taker for The Action Group and going to University next year, wrote this blog last week (4 years after participating in ‘Going Dutch’ (a.k.a. From Work to Work / 2013).
Before ‘Going Dutch’ I was just you’re average un appreciative teenager leeching of their parent. I was unable to try and get a job as getting a job meant realising I was part of a community. Eventually I started doing lots of different projects by RUTS, Princess trust, Fairbridge, Adventure Scotland and many many more. I kept trying to convince myself that eventually these groups would amount to getting a job. The sad truth is I was gaining nothing and becoming another statistical number in failed rehabilitated teenagers who could not match up to society.
This was where I was told about going Dutch from RUTS (Rural Urban Training Scheme) or as we all know it the place we could mess around with motorbikes and learn more about them. I had a long hesitant think about going as it meant leaving everything I knew in Scotland behind for several months. This meant life as I know it was about to be thrown around and maybe just maybe I had to think and fend for myself without my single parent. It was after a long gruelling thought and realising that my life was going no-where I decided to go Dutch.
It was then I met Pieter Van Schie, the leader and founder of the scheme ‘Going Dutch’. This is where I took full advantage and tried to understand this project and what it was about. I realised that I would be going to Holland with no one other than myself. Finally, a restart in life that I can get away from my natural lazy habitat and have to take a boot to my own butt. So, I accepted this challenge and took it under my wing and started learning new skills to help me get there. This meant training myself as well to do small tasks for myself, even ironing my own clothes and being able to wash and clean them.
Finally, after a long drive we ended up in Dordrecht City Centre. This was It. I finally have landed in a place I can actually change my old drab life. I was taken to the ‘Voorstraat’ which is a very nice welcoming place full of warm welcoming people (who love Scottish accents). I was sent to work, as a volunteer for ‘Tuinwereld’ (‘Garden World’) a very nice and well-known garden centre in Dordrecht. It was here I had to try to understand the little Dutch words like ‘Hoi’ (Hi) and ‘Goedemorgen’ (Good Morning). I loved this it was almost perfect I would cycle out to Tuinwereld and back from Voorstraat. Sometimes I visited a café hide away making great friends with the bar owner Jimmy and his wife Petra who funnily have a similar story to mine (in how they met).
I finally started feeling what it was like to work and enjoy working (I know, weird right, I went from partying and living life for free to enjoying working? What is this?). I never thought I would start making a life from this programme but already I was starting to change. Eventually after a few months in started chatting with this beautiful lass from Dubbeldam, just outside Dordrecht. Who would have thought I’d be stuck with this girl for 4 years and still going strong? I met my girl and my life going to this programme for younger adults.
When I got back from Holland I actually started the real life. First working at Sainsbury’s Supermarket. I am now a science student, studying in Edinburgh College, and potentially going to university next year my life is a huge swap around. I am working currently as a care taker at The Action Group. If it wasn’t for the Going Dutch programme I would never have gotten anywhere near as far as I am. It taught me a huge appreciation for the things my mum did for me and also for money. This programme is strongly, highly, recommended by me and I promise you, if you follow this programme or fund this programme you will change lives whether like my group it was one person or many people. I would say that your money or time is well founded in this group and the sooner you go the better life will be!