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Getting to go away to another country like Portugal was life changing to be honest

Les 22, from Springburn had his first Erasmus+ experience whilst he was unemployed and volunteering with Achieve More Scotland. Youth workers kept pointing out that Les spoke well to things that matter for young people and so he was offered the opportunity to go to Portugal for 1 week with 20 other young people from across Europe to discuss democracy and young people. It was the first time Les had been on a plane and the first time he had left Glasgow.

“Getting to go away to another country like Portugal was life changing to be honest. I did not want to come back. The culture was amazing, meeting new people from different backgrounds and the sun! It was things that some people may look to as being simple, but for me it was my first time experiencing them. That was why it was tough coming back, I didn’t want to come back to the street. I came back off the bus to see the same bleak circumstances and witnessed someone getting the jail and other negative things as soon as a got off the bus.

I was still unemployed when I came back, but I had a lot more motivation to do things and a drive to achieve it. I also had a clearer picture of what I wanted to do.

On not having Erasmus+ in the future, Les believes

 “it’s unfortunate, it’s a once in a lifetime experience for young people like me. I can’t go into the politics of it all but for people like me and my sister who need things like this to remind you of your value and change your mindset to a positive one. Erasmus+ offers you that, and it is one element that ties youth development together. If it goes, I fear it will make a difference, and not a good one for young people.”

Les is a community coach with Achieve More Scotland and coaches in Schools across Glasgow. He is going to be completing his professional development certificate in Youth Work practice through Glasgow Kelvin College this Summer, supporting him to become a youth worker.