Luke came to stay at one of our houses at a time when he was trying to turn his life around. Whilst there, he engaged the Vocational Development Programme. Here he tells us in his own words about his journey and how he grabbed the opportunities he was offered.



On what the most important part of moving into St Petrocs accommodation was for him

"Stability. Gary was the house manager, and it was brilliant for me. Here was this guy that just seemed to have all the time in the world to sit there and talk to me about whatever it was I needed to talk about. And that meant a lot. It just, that helped me a lot."


On self-reflection

"Transformative. Yeah. It's been a journey of self-reflection. I didn't even know what that was 18 months ago. But for the last 18 months, I've done very little but self-reflect and I’ve changed. I don't recognize the guy I was anymore. I was a two-bit drug dealing criminal for my entire life, started at the age of 12 and that's who I was. That's been my life. And then the last 18 months, it's been completely flipped around. I'm now a productive member of society, who's just moved out of St Petrocs, and here I am sat in this place [the flat he’s moved into], that don't look like much right now, but it's mine, and I've got four job offers too.

But what I really want to do is work for St Petrocs, hence being the Vocational Development Champion [Luke is now volunteering for the Vocational Development Programme and has helped develop the role]. My vision for that role is that you identify people interested in giving back and pursuing maybe a career with helping people, maybe not even necessarily for St Petrocs, but that sort of thing. And that person then is a champion and their journey in St Petrocs is getting them ready for that career path, be that what they want to do for their whole life or not. My own eventual goal is a restaurant and a food truck, but that's a long way away. Do you know what I mean? So I need a job to make money to open the first business, which will open the second business, which will open the third, fourth, and fifth business. All of which I've got complete business plans already drawn up for."


On getting so many qualifications whilst engaging St Petrocs Vocational Development Programme

“Well, the Vocational Development Programme started, and they said, we're here to help you put yourself in a position to find work. At which point I thought, well, work, yeah, that's a good start. Make yourself as employable as possible. So, it started for me with a course called ‘Choices’, an employability course, just confidence building and stuff like that. And that was really good for me because it totally challenged the way I looked at life. That was the start of me becoming who I am now, cause I honestly look at myself now and then as two different people. There is the guy I was before St. Petrocs and the guy I am today. And they are honestly two totally separate people.

Now I've got, God knows how many qualifications, four job offers, five business plans. I'm a completely different guy. And it all started with that one course, that Choices course, delivered by Bec and Simon. I'd go in there with me attitude I had at the time that was like, f*** everybody, it's all about me. And like very jaded. And every time I'd make a comment, they'd challenge it. And they'd say, well, alright, that's one way to look at it, but try looking at it like this. That moulded my way of thinking into a much more positive way of thinking. And now I'm a very positive individual.  I didn't have any drive whatsoever when I first came to St Petrocs. Again, that course gave me the ambition and the drive to move forward, to get qualified, to be the kind of guy that wants to hold down a job, because that was never me. I had jobs and I held down jobs, but I did it because I had to do it, not because it was something I wanted to do, and I never held down the same job for very long. I've done pretty much every job you can imagine, bartender, plasterer, I've never been qualified in any of it, a jack of all trades, master of none.

But since moving into St Petrocs, I'm qualified in, well, 14 or 15 qualifications, and I've been there about as many months. A lot were online courses that I could just plug away at, in my own time, others were face to face. I got one in [P.A.T.] testing, one in health and safety, construction skills level one, the pathway to site course, ICDL [computer literacy], driving license. I'm now employable in every field you could possibly imagine. And it's all down to the VDP. I mean, I put the work in, and I got the certificates, but I wouldn't have been able to do that if I wasn't put in a position to do that by St Petrocs.”


On bonding in the house and all helping each other

“I've become that kind of guy. I was nowhere near like that kind of guy when I first moved in, but that's the kind of guy I've become now. A new guy moved in, and I took a shine to him. I thought, I can see he needs a bit of guidance, I sort of took him under my wing if you like, and took him out in the back. I said, here’s a fag, calm down. Let's have a chat. Where do you see yourself going? Now you've got stability. And he told me a bit about himself and then things started to get a little heavy. And that's when I brought in the whole Simba moment [looking across the town from the back of the house], I was like, everything the light touches is our kingdom.”


On the excitement of moving to his own flat recently

“I woke up and for 30 seconds I was like, here we go again. And then I was like, well, no, wait a minute. Here we don't go again! It's moving day! Right! Jump up, throw on your jeans. Let's get everything on the go! And, yeah, from that moment on, I got up, I knocked on my Jay's door, one of the residents, knocked on Callum's door. I got him outta bed and I was like, right, it’s all hands on deck, grab a bag, get it down to the living room! And they all just pitched in.”