“Hi, I’m Reza from Newcastle. I have been doing Tyne on Your Side with Headliners and it has really inspired me. I signed up to do it because I had been out of education for a couple of years and was struggling to get a job. I was drawn to it because I was interested in Journalism and had thought about going back to college to do media studies, but I didn’t really have the confidence at the time. So I thought this was a good way to get into it.

During the project I was able to look at my future and map out where I was going. It was personal to me and I had support to make a plan for my future. As well as doing things around employability I was able to spend 121 time just concentrating on me and ultimately having the support to decide that the right step for me was to go back into education and I had the support there to make it happen.

I think the part of the project that was the most important for me was a session in believing in myself. I think all young people need to have that because I put myself down all the time before this and now, I can go “No I can do this, I do have skills, I am capable.”

I enjoyed doing the OCN in Photography because it meant I was getting a practical skill but also getting a taste of what its going to be like to return to education, But most importantly it gave me something creative to focus on. It was really strange to go to an exhibition and see a photograph I had taken displayed there. It did make me feel proud.

I have also made a great bunch of mates during Tyne on Your Side, People I wouldn’t probably mix with before. But actually I think because of my situation I probably hadn’t had any new mates in a couple of years, So that’s definitely given me more confidence.

I was invited back at the end of the project to be part of a young peoples panel that evaluated how the project has gone, I think it’s really powerful for Headliners to do that and make sure that its young people’s voices in saying what was good and what they want to see happen. It also made me feel quite proud because a year ago I didn’t think I would be doing something like that, Because I didn’t think my opinions were that important, But now I know they are. 

I think if someone was going to sign up and do something with Headliners I’d tell them to do it. Because it’s made me so much more confident.”

This work was made possible through North of The Tyne Combined Authority