Dudley Talent Match success story helps South African orphans

Amy Hill (aged 18) is set to start a new life working in an orphanage in Kimberley South Africa, having found a new focus thanks to the support and mentoring she has received from the Talent Match programme delivered at Dudley College of Technology. Talent Match is a service that helps young people struggling with a range of issues that are keeping them from employment or further study deal with them and move on in life.

Amy Hill (aged 18) and Talnt Match mentor Kaye Lander (aged 40)Amy joined the Talent Match scheme having dropped out of A’level studies at a local secondary school. She suffered with mental health issues that created anxiety and panic attacks and was a user of antidepressants from an early age. Through the one-to-one mentoring she received and the weekly support sessions she attended, she has built her confidence and learnt a variety of techniques to manage her anxiety. All allowing her to take a bold new step about her future.

Working with her Talent Match support mentor Kaye Lander (aged 40), Amy develop an ambition to take up a placement with educational charity: Project Trust. The Trust offers young people the opportunity to take part in overseas teaching and social care projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America- if they can pass the rigorous selection and process and raise funds to support themselves.

Having applied to Project Trust Amy’s first task was to get through the selection school which took place on the Hebridean Isle of Coll. Here she took part in a range of testing mental and physical tasks that were designed to see if she could work as part of team and thrive under pressure. Commenting on this experience she said:

“Just attending the selection event was a huge deal for me. Talent Match helped me prepare for this and gave me coping strategies to manage my anxiety. So I was delighted when I found I was one of only 300 young people from across the UK to be selected.”

The next task was to raise the £6k needed to be able to subsidise the year abroad. With a developing sense of self-confidence Amy set upon a range of fund raising tasks including hosting a Quiz Night, having a Bake Sale, taking part in a sponsored Triathlon and securing individual donations from a range of local supporters including Stourbridge Lions and Stourbridge Rotary Club and the Margaret Westwood Memorial Charity administered by Higgs and Son. She even secured a contribution from her secondary school Redhill School. Just a few days before she was due to depart she secured the last of the monies she needed to be able to guarantee her trip.

Describing her excitement about the trip Amy said: “I’ll be working in an orphanage that specialises in working with 4-14 year olds who also have Cerebral palsy or Spina bifida. My role will be to help the physiotherapists and provide friendship and emotional support for the young people. I’ll use everything I’ve learnt through Talent Match to make a difference to the way they feel about their lives.”

Commenting on Amy’s progress over the year Kay says: “As a mentor I know I have to judge success on a very individual basis but I would say Amy has come a long way in a short time. I’m thrilled she has conquered her difficulties and is ready to move on. I’m hoping she’ll stay in touch as we can continue to support her from afar.”

With her sights set firmly on a new chapter in South Africa Amy’s last thoughts are about other young people in Dudley struggling with the kind of issues such as the ones she had, as she says: “It’s really easy to feel you are the only person struggling with issues of mental health, substance abuse or poor self-confidence but Talent Match has shown me tonnes of other young people who feel the same and share the same issues. More importantly I now know Talent Match can really make an impact and help you live a different life to the one you know now. I urge other young people to get in touch if they need the kind of help I benefited from. ”

To find out more about Talent Match visit