Dale Marshall knew his life was spiralling out of control after he had a run in with the police.
The 21-year-old from Falkirk endured one spell in prison and was worried it would not be long before he returned unless he could straighten himself out.
It’s hard to put into words the support I’ve received from the Salvation Army and everyone at the New Future projectDale Marshall
It was his probation officer who suggested Dale attend the New Future employability and training centre run by the Salvation Army.
Dale so enjoyed his time at the centre’s previous base in Maddiston that he now volunteers for the service, which he credits with turning around his life and leading him to full-time employment with Jarvie Plant in Grangemouth.
He was among the guests when the new Salvation Army employability centre in Falkirk High Street was officially opened yesterday (Wednesday).
It is part of a UK-wide initiative led by the charity called Employment Plus, which offers hope to those out of work by offering practical support.
The centre, at 167-169 High Street, will offer users advice on looking for jobs, writing a CV, interview preparation and possible courses in further education.
It can also advise those currently in work who are considering a change of career.
“It’s hard to put into words the support I’ve received from the Salvation Army and everyone at the New Future project,” said Dale.
“It’s enabled me to better myself. I have so much more confidence and I know what I want to do in the long term.
“I was at a pretty low place in my life after getting into trouble with the police.
“My probation officer knew I wanted to join the army and mentioned the Salvation Army was running a preparation course for it. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was willing to give anything a chance.
“It was incredible. The staff and volunteers were so welcoming and willing to offer practical and emotional support. I ended up enjoying it so much I asked to become a volunteer.
Dale continued: “My dream is to become a Royal Marine but first I am waiting to hear if I’ll be accepted to join the army. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start in January.
“Right now, I’m focusing on my job with Jarvie Plant. I’m enjoying working and the benefits that come with having a job.”
The New Future project has relocated to Falkirk High Street from its original base in Maddiston to cope with growing demand.
The centre is building a partnership with Falkirk Council as well as leading local employers such as Malcolm Allan butchers.
“We’re delighted to be leading the way in helping people across the Falkirk district get back into work,” said Louise McKnight, an employment development officer.
“It’s exciting to finally have our base on the High Street and we’ve already seen a big rise in the number of people coming into the centre.
“We help people find employment and also support people who are already in work but who are looking to better themselves by learning new skills.
“The staff team here are excellent and really go the extra mile to offer practical support and a listening ear. We also have some dedicated volunteers who are able to share their own experiences with people visiting for the first time.”
The New Future centre in Maddiston first opened in August 2014 and offers a range of accredited qualifications. It is an SQA-approved assessment centre and is also backed by the Royal Environment Health Institute of Scotland.