Courtney Tastes Success After CashBack Programme
Thu 9th March 2023
Courtney Kimmins is the latest success story to graduate from the Rangers Charity Foundation’s CashBack for Communities – Towards New Futures course.
The programme aims to re-engage young people with current or past convictions and help them move towards a more positive future including working, volunteering or further education.
With an initial referral from Elevate in Glasgow, Courtney joined the CashBack programme in January at Ibrox stadium. With her eight-week course now behind her, Courtney is looking forward to a new future as she prepares to start as an apprentice chef with restaurant chain Harvester.
The 23-year-old admits that she may not have been on the best path before starting the course but credits the Rangers Charity Foundation programme with giving her the chance to turn things around. Courtney said:
“I feel like I’m not just surviving anymore, I feel like I’m living.
“Before I started I was constantly in trouble with the police, drinking all the time and I ended up being put on a restricted movement order. On top of that I was given 18 months’ probation.
“Since I started the course I’ve not been in any trouble and I’ve been focused and I’ve been trying to give myself a chance because if I didn’t come here and start this programme I’m sure I would’ve ended up on the wrong path.”
Despite having prior involvement with the criminal justice system, Courtney now has a totally different outlook on life.
Looking back at the change she sees in herself, Courtney said: “I realised that I need to be a role model for younger people and I made a real effort to do that. Being the oldest on the course it was important that I stepped up and set an example.
“I don’t recognise the Courtney that I was before the course. I was in a bad way and I could be a horrible person to people and now that I’m looking back, I was so different.”
“It’s like I don’t know who she is anymore and it kind of scares me a bit that that’s what I was like.”
CashBack participants improve their employment prospects and CVs by completing accredited fitness, first-aid and mental health courses. The initiative includes a variety of formal and industry recognised awards utilising the Foundation’s SQA Centre status.
Qualifications like these helped Courtney build on her CV, something she admits helped her immensely. She said: “The course has helped me get a job and I would never have been able to do that before this because as I said I would’ve been in trouble again more than likely.
“When I started I really wasn’t prepared to start working so I completed a Steps to Work award which I could put on my CV and the staff sat down and did mock interviews with me and told me what I needed to work on which really helped me.”
The programme is delivered by the Foundation’s CashBack Coordinator, Derek Rhoddan and Community Executive, Andy Gordon. Courtney said the delivery of the course and the help she received helped her turn things around and put her on the right path.
She said: “Derek and Andy made sure that any blips that I had we resolved together and I didn’t need to do it on my own. They were really supportive and helped me with anything that I was needing.”
Community Executive, Andy was similarly thrilled with Courtney’s rapid progress and successful outcome. Speaking about Courtney’s journey, he said: “I am delighted that Courtney managed to achieve a positive outcome of the course, gaining full-time sustainable employment within the hospitality industry.”
“The difference I have seen in Courtney has been astronomical since the start of the course.”
“She has gained confidence, resilience and now has a positive outlook on her life. A massive change in her overall happiness was also wonderful to see.”
With new qualifications, interview practice and an updated CV, Courtney’s next steps were to start looking for employment and success wasn’t far away. She has now accepted a chef apprenticeship with Harvester and is looking forward to getting started.
Courtney explained how she felt when she got the call: “I got an email to apply for the job and I applied but I didn’t think I was going to get it though. I came into Ibrox and I got a phone call to offer me a trial. I completed the trial shift and I was offered the job and when they told me I was over the moon.
“I’m still sticking to all my stuff that I need to do and now that I’ve got a job as well I’m a lot happier than I was before I started CashBack.”
With her own future now looking positive, Courtney had some words of advice for anyone thinking about participating in the CashBack programme: “Stick in at it and stay out of trouble and just know that there is help out there.”
“This course is amazing and it’s helped me a lot so there’s not really an excuse for you not to come and you just need to stick in at it. You get everything you need like qualifications and help with employment skills so don’t waste it.”
CashBack for Communities is a unique Scottish Government programme which takes funds recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and invests them into community programmes, facilities and activities largely aimed at diverting young people at risk away from potentially criminal or anti-social behaviour.
The programme is free and is run four days per week for eight weeks. Participants will also have continued support after completion of the course to help them stay motivated and on track to achieving their goals.