By Tony Dewhurst

Morecambe Manager Sammy McIlroy has hailed the Future Jobs Fund as a success story.

McIlroy, Morecambe's Manager since 2005, told The Football League website: "I've heard a lot about the Future Jobs Fund - it offers a great opportunity to young people who haven't had the chance to work before or don't have a job.

"It is a good, positive thing. Some of the kids who have come on to the course at Morecambe are now coaching, and football has really helped them in a positive way.

"The chance is there for unemployed youngsters to get involved in their football club, and then, if they work hard, there's the very real possibility of employment at the end of the scheme."

Liam Rush, from Heysham, works as a cleaner at The Globe Arena and says the Future Jobs Fund has given him a fresh start this year.

"It gives me a good feeling doing this, " said the 22-year-old.

"It has changed my outlook on life because the work has given me something to aim at.

"Before, I wasn't really getting anywhere, doing odd jobs, but this scheme means I've an opportunity to work for six months and, crucially, it might lead to permanent employment.

"I love working and it is good to know that when I get up in the morning I've got work to go to.

"There's nothing worse when there's no work, but I'm in a routine now and that has really helped me.

"The Globe Arena is a fantastic stadium, and you really feel part of the community when you're working at a football club."

Scott Chalmers, a handyman, has also recently joined the Future Jobs Fund.

He said: "I'm football mad - I'm a big Glasgow Celtic fan - so when I asked about the scheme at the Job Centre they said it would be a really good course to get involved with.

"So to get an opportunity to work at Morecambe FC is fantastic.

"I'd done loads of jobs but never really stuck to anything, nothing had caught my imagination like this.

"So far it has proved a brilliant experience and everybody has made me feel very welcome.

"Times are tough, there are not many jobs for youngsters.

"The Future Jobs Fund has given me an opportunity. It is up to me now."

Administrative Assistant Graham Bailey had difficulty finding work when he left University last year, and said: "I was sending off lots of applications but not getting anywhere.

"The Future Jobs Fund opened the door for me because I'd been unemployed for eight months. I did the course and was taken on full-time.

"I've been at Morecambe for nearly a year, and the scheme is a great idea."

Richard Knowles lost his job last summer when the company he was working for went out of business.

"I ran part-time soccer schools at Christie Park when I was at college, and I always wanted to get back into coaching," said Richard.

"So when the opportunity came up via the Future Jobs Fund and they could guarantee me 25 hours a week, then that was ideal.

"Coaching is my passion and the opportunities to coach are few and far between."

Mike Evans, The Football League Trust National Project Manager, said: "The Future Jobs Fund has been an amazing success for The Football League Trust.

"We have created 400 jobs across the 76 charities we work with, of which well over half have led to sustainable employment.

"All of the young people we have given opportunities to have gained new qualifications, learnt new skills, and many have gained the confidence to go out and get that job that seemed impossible to find."

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