A 22 year old from St Austell in Cornwall has kept himself both inspired and motivated throughout the recent COVID crisis, thanks to Game Changer and Real Ideas. And he’s on a mission to make his living as a bookkeeper post-pandemic and utilise all his recent creative learnings once the job market opens up once again.

*George (*name changed for personal reasons) has lived in St. Austell for most of his life. Maths has always been a strongpoint for him and following his time studying web development at college, he was keen to pursue a career in bookkeeping or accountancy.

However, as with swathes of young people across the UK, the COVID pandemic placed a big ‘roadblock’ in his plans. The training course he was booked onto was cancelled and as most bookkeeping jobs are built via a training position with companies, he was forced to put this ambition on ice for a while.

George says, “I would like to stay in the St. Austell area of Cornwall to gain some more experience and because there’s some really good people around here. But there is a smaller number of jobs to apply for which is a challenge for everyone. After getting my driving license in 2018, I spent quite a lot of time in 2019 trying to figure myself out and working out where I fit in the job industry. I thought 2020 was going to be my year. Then, the pandemic hit.”

However, George heard about Game Changer and Real Ideas via a friend who had found the programme via a similar recommendation.

He says, “It’s tough being unemployed and it’s difficult getting work. Especially with all the restrictions now. Game Changer offered me support and I’m glad I followed the recommendation and got involved. Game Changer is a really social environment, even though my capacity for interaction is limited on an online format. It helps a lot to know that you’re not alone in the challenging process of working out what jobs are for you and how to find and apply for them, which is even more important when the opportunities available are significantly reduced due to a pandemic!”

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He continues, “Game Changer shows you different industries and how interchangable skills can be applied to various jobs you might not have thought about. It’s a really versatile programme and they expand the options that are available to you.”

Over the course of a week when it was possible for the Game Changer team to safely move around companies and premises, George went to visit various local employers such as St Austell Brewery and The Eden Project. These visits opened his mind to the options and opportunities for him.

He says, “I studied web development and I thought it would be pretty easy to get a job with my Diploma. But then I discovered that there’s not a lot of jobs around in that industry in this area which is why I decided to enrol on a bookkeeping course, utilizing my math skills. I completed Level 1 and it was going pretty good, but then Level 2 got cancelled due to COVID. I was finding it hard to motivate myself and keep focused. That was when my Game Changer Navigator suggested an art-based course to explore my creativity.”

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Game Changer set George up with online sessions with an inspiring Cornish artist called Keith Sparrow. George says, “The sessions with Keith were a great distraction – educational and entertaining and teaching me things that I didn’t previously know how to do. Keith is a great teacher and together we explored various different techniques to help me recover my lost creativity, motivation and confidence. It’s helping me to build my repertoire and it has been an inspiring substitute for the bookkeeping courses that I’m eager to get back to when I’m able.”

As well as the expansion of his creative and artistic talents, George has found that Game Changer has built his vital confidence with people. He says, “Game Changer has been instrumental in helping me with social interaction. You meet a lot of different kinds of personalities at Game Changer and this has been really useful in setting me up for the future workplace in various ways.”

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