Amir said, “I was kicked out of school so many times I didn’t know what to do. I grew up on a bad estate where many people were involved in gun crime and drugs. There were problems at home. Arguing with my dad meant I went from light hearted messing around to causing havoc. I wanted to be recognised, so at school I was the class clown and got involved in lots of fights.
“I was 15 when I was involved in my first armed robbery and had my first taste of prison. My time inside was pretty distressing, but when I left in 2017 having finished my sentence, I had a new mindset. I wanted to change, to explore good opportunities. I wanted to be the older brother to my two younger siblings.
“I spoke to some counsellors, trying to get my head sane, but it was hard. There were slips and bumps along the way. My best friend died and I got evicted from my new accommodation; it was a vicious cycle that left me back at square one.
“My mum encouraged me to go along to the Job Centre. I remember her telling me I was going to be the man she knew I could be. It was there I found out about the Spear programme. On my first week at Spear Camden, I didn’t want to interact or get out of my seat. I sat there thinking ‘Why am I here? I feel like a punk’. I had brought my friend Mo along to keep me company, even though he wasn’t even signed up – it was him who encouraged me to start getting involved. I eventually thought ‘Why not? I’ve got nothing to lose.’
“Before the Spear Programme, the thought of standing in front of a room of people giving a presentation would have been a dream. But with my coaches’ support, I’m now able to present confidently. I also had help with writing my CV and cover letter. I’m excited that I’ve been offered a warehouse job, and I’m hoping to apply for an apprenticeship at TFL.
“The life I’ve led in the past is not a good one; not everyone with my story lives to tell the tale. But my Spear coaches fixed me. Now there’s nothing stopping me – I know I can overcome any obstacle I face. Spear did everything I could have asked for; I wish I could do it all over again.”