This confidence gave me the motivation to apply for my current job, Development Coordinator - Young Volunteers (Wales) with Youth Sport Trust. Progressing from being a Young Ambassador to overseeing the programme was a massive step. I decided to embrace all the skills I had learnt over the years and showcase what I can do. Another great outcome and I'm loving every minute.
Confidence is a common theme in the YA programme: YAs are extraordinary young people who have the confidence to speak up and express their opinions without having to be encouraged to. They are conscientious people who do things like set up a sports club because it truly matters to them and not because they have been asked to do so by an adult.
This is remarkably different to the perceived image of young people, certainly in the UK. We're thought to be constantly moaning about 'first world problems' and glued to our phones. Poor mental health is an issue, but I have seen how the YA programme can help turn things around for people. Society can often let us down - it's common to see young people missing out on opportunities to develop their skills and boost their confidence because often adults just don't listen, don't value our input and don't offer us a chance to try something new. YAs across Wales are developing skills which, in the moment may feel less valuable, but they could be some of the most important experiences which can direct them down a wonderful path of independence and maturity.
I feel really grateful for the opportunities the YA programme has offered me. I admit, I am a 'yes man' and so I like to think that my ambition and curiosity would have served me a great foundation for life regardless. However, I cannot emphasise enough how the YA programme offered me, and so many other young people, a platform to achieve great things and to become valuable members of our workplaces, communities, networks and society.
You'd make me one happy guy if you took some time to nose through our social channels to see what our Welsh youth are up to this World Youth Skills Day.