A Sheffield teenager who was close to exclusion from school is now a 'different person' thanks to an apprenticeship.
Hadyn Allen had a difficult time while studying at Chaucer School in Parson Cross, often missing lessons and struggling academically.
Exclusion was a real possibility for the 18-year-old from Firth Park, and he had little hope for a career after leaving.
But he was given an opportunity when staff offered him the chance to shadow the school's maintenance team. He was inspired to work harder, and the extra effort paid off.
Hadyn has just secured a full-time job in the team after finishing a two-year apprenticeship.
"To be honest I found school hard,” he said,
“I fully expected to leave without any qualifications and end up with no prospects and a life on benefits.
“But when the school gave me the chance to be part of the maintenance team I realised that the staff were genuinely giving me a lot of support. They cared about me.
"So I thought it was time I gave something back and began attending more regularly and engaging in all my classes.”
While shadowing the maintenance team Hadyn made the most of the skills training opportunities that are part of the school's work with Sheffield Housing Company, or SHC.
This led to accredited horticultural training and eventually the apprenticeship in facilities management.Chaucer School facilities manager Steve Middleton said: “Hadyn’s attendance was as low as 30 per cent at times and he was on the verge of being permanently excluded.
"We put him with the maintenance team to see if something different to the classroom environment might help him re-focus.
“And it worked. Within a few weeks he was a different person. In all my years in education I have never seen such a transformation.
"We got him enrolled on a horticulture course with vocational training and he was top of the class.
"Then, through the 'Skills Made Easy' initiative he enrolled on his apprenticeship and just went from strength to strength eventually becoming an apprenticeship ambassador.
“He is now a truly valued member of the team here, not only for his work but the role he plays as a mentor to other pupils who find it difficult to settle into school life.”
SHC is a partnership between Sheffield Council, developer Keepmoat and housing provider Great Place.
Project director John Clephan said: “The core role of the housing company is to build good quality housing for the people of Sheffield but along the way, we want to invest in communities and individuals to help change lives for the better.
“If our support for Chaucer School has in any way helped Hadyn and other students to secure themselves better futures, then we can take pride in the work which is being done across the city.”