Salvation Army helps Falkirk boy turn his life around

published on 29 Jul 2015

A Falkirk youngster has turned his back on a life of trouble thanks to the support of a Salvation Army employment scheme.

Dale Marshall admitted his life was spiralling out of control until his probation officer put him in touch with New Future Employability and Training Centre.

The 21-year-old was given a range of support by staff - and enjoyed attending the centre so much that he ended up becoming a volunteer there.

Now thanks to the New Future project, Dale has landed a job as a labourer in Grangemouth and is hoping to fulfil his dream of becoming a Royal Marine.

Speaking at the official launch of the centre's new base on Falkirk High Street, Dale said: "I was at a pretty low place in my life after getting into trouble with the police.

"My probation officer knew I wanted to join the army and mentioned that The Salvation Army was running a preparation course for it. It wasn't sure what to expect but I was willing to give anything a chance.

"It was incredible. The staff and volunteers were so welcoming and willing to offer practical and emotional support. I ended up enjoying it so much that I asked to become a volunteer. Soon I was volunteering whenever I could and any free time I had was spent searching for jobs.

"It's hard to put into words the support I've received from The Salvation Army and everyone at the New Future project. It's enabled me to better myself. I now have so much more confidence and I know what I want to do in the long term.

“My dream is to become a Royal Marine but first I am waiting to hear if I'll be accepted to join the army. I'm hoping that I'll be able to start in January. I'm quite a fit guy but I'd need to hit the gym to get myself ready for the demands of military life.

"Right now I'm just focusing on my job at Jarvie Plant over in Grangemouth. I'm enjoying working and the benefits that come with having a job."

[From L-R: New Falkirk corps officers Captains Peter and Suzanne Clark, Commissioner Robin Forsyth, Louise McKnight and Provost Pat Reid]

Louise McKnight, employment development officer at the New Future project, said: “Dale has been a credit to himself ever since we got the opportunity to work with him and help him build his confidence and see the potential we see in him.

"Dale’s turned his life around we're all so proud of him, in fact I wish we could employ him ourselves but his heart is set on joining the army.

"He's been a real asset to us as a volunteer, I’ve told him we’ll all be there at his passing out parade."

New Future Employability and Training Centre was previously based at The Salvation Army's Maddiston church but moved to the centre of Falkirk to meet growing demand. It is part a UK-wide initiative by the church and charity called Employment Plus, which offers hope for unemployed people by helping them search for jobs, create CVs, and make the most of interviews. The centre is also SQA approved and a Royal Environment Health Institute of Scotland Training Centre (REHIS).

Since August 2014, staff have delivered 525 courses and out of the 1291 registrations nearly 200 service users have moved into employment. The centre has a growing partnership within the Falkirk area including Falkirk Council and leading local employers such as Malcolm Allan Butchers.

The centre is also open to workers and jobseekers looking to enhance their CV or make a career change, and runs a range of accredited short courses. These courses offer industry-recognised qualifications and are available to people of all ages through their Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs).

Louise added: “We’re delighted to be leading the way in helping people in Falkirk get back into work. It's exciting to finally have our base on the high street and we’ve already seen a big rise in the number of people coming into the centre.

"We help people find employment and also support people who are already in work but who are looking to better themselves by learning new skills.

"The staff team here are excellent and really go the extra mile to offer practical support and a listening ear. We also have some dedicated volunteers who are able to share their own experiences with new starts."