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Impact Stories

Dylan’s story: turning a passion to a career pathway

My name’s Dylan, I’m 17 and I’m a member at Future, Barking and Dagenham Youth Zone. I felt nervous and didn’t know what to expect when I first visited Future. I’d been bullied at school which knocked my self-confidence.

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a job. I tried following my friends, teachers, and what school was telling me to do. I ended up going to college, though I did feel this was a rushed decision. At the time all I wanted was to focus on passing my GCSEs, so when it came to deciding what I was going to do next I felt I didn’t have much time to think about my options. Unfortunately my exams were cancelled because of Covid, but preparing for college was even harder than GCSE revision.

I had to travel far to my college, and what made it more difficult was the course I picked wasn’t my main passion. I enjoyed cooking but the class wasn’t what I expected, especially with the extra pressure of the pandemic.

In the end I left my course, and tried to find work. I knew this wouldn’t be easy as I was 16 and fresh out of school. I did get a job that was a couple of bus trips away, but after some trial shifts it wasn’t the right place for me. I found myself unemployed and out of school.

Bradley from Future called me to say they had launched the Made in Barking and Dagenham project [Future’s programme to inspire, upskill and connect young people from the borough to reach their potential]. It looked like a great opportunity, and was the first time someone had actually asked me what I wanted, and put me in control. After taking part in weekly virtual meetings, calls and coaching sessions – I finally found my passion! I was more confident, and open to building positive relationships. Other parts of my life changed too, I started working out more than I used to.

One of my passions is gaming, I’ve been developing my game station at home since I was 10. Brad helped me find coding courses and qualifications to help boost my knowledge. I’m now going back to college to study a gaming pathway course that will allow me to follow a future career in gaming, and to explore IT as an industry.