Community / Employment charity receives funding to help young people

Alex Slater on board the Swan.

LERWICK based charity Moving On Employment Project has secured £65,000 of funding from the National Lottery’s young start programme.

Moving On has been supporting young people facing barriers to employment to reach their full potential for more than 20 years, and the recent young start funding will support their work for another three years.

Alex Slater, now 22 years old, is just one of the hundreds of young people who have already benefited from the service.

Having left high school at the age of 18 with suspected dyslexia, Alex, who lives in Lerwick, lacked reading and writing skills and, without a formal diagnosis, he could not access relevant benefits and support services to help him into further education or a career.

Moving On initially helped Alex find work experience at the local community bike project which turned into paid employment after a few months, which was great for his self-esteem.


In April this year Alex was selected as one of the team to crew the Swan on her sail to Norway as part of the Tall Ship Races this summer.

In his sessions with Moving On, Alex learned skills such as writing a CV and filling in job application forms. Since returning from his sailing trip in August, he has found full-time employment with a local fruit and vegetable wholesaler.

He has also passed his driving theory test, which was a goal of his when he first began his sessions with Moving On and hopes to pass his practical test in the near future.

Alex said: “I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go on The Swan if it wasn’t for Moving On, and the staff there were the ones who helped me with any paperwork and applications I had to do to go on the trip.

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“It’s also helped me with my confidence so once I got back from the trip, I found it easier to start my new job – which I’m loving.”

The new funding for the project is estimated to help at least 80 more young people like Alex.

Moving On support co-ordinator Karen Blair said: “When Alex first started coming to our sessions, he was shy and you could tell he had low self-esteem.

“But since his various work placements, and obviously since his trip with The Swan, the change we’ve seen in him is incredible. He’s such a hands-on, practical guy, and loved boats when he was younger, so when the opportunity for the Tall Ships came up, we knew he’d thrive.

The Scotland chair of the National Lottery Community Fund, Kate Still, added: “Helping young Scots find their way into employment and further education is one of the main aims of the young start fund, so we’re thrilled to hear stories like Alex’s.”

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