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Joel's Story

Meet Joel

Joel joined our traineeship in October 2020 after his CAMHS support worker contacted us about the course following a difficult period in his life. He expressed a keen interest in getting into sports journalism, and has written this own account of his time with us..

Before the traineeship, I was struggling with my mental health and a result I was twice admitted into Hopewood hospital in Sherwood. My first admission lasted for about a month and I was discharged a week before the first national lockdown.

The second time around I was in Hopewood for around two months from July to September 2020 and thankfully was in a much better place in terms of my mental health when I was discharged. Following my discharge from the second admission, I moved to a different house with my mum due to problems between the family.

I found out about the traineeship during a meeting in Hopewood in my second admission with two members of my CAMHS Community Team as we were all looking at something for me to do when I was discharged from hospital. The traineeship popped up whilst looking at courses for me to do, it was put forward as a suggestion and we all agreed it was a realistic thing for me to do following my discharge.

After I was discharged and a couple of weeks before the course started, I had a meeting with a member of my CAMHS Community Team along with Jodie (Education Lead – Derby County Community Trust) at Derby Rugby Club and knew this was the right course for me to do at that point in time.

Joel began the traineeship in the weeks after the initial meeting. Before further national lockdowns, he was able to take on a number of activities.

In the traineeship the types of activity I’ve covered have included team-building sessions which have been organised by Adam (Education Support – Derby County Community Trust) on a Thursday. These involve walking around the local area usually in two groups of four, looking at local businesses and assessing how the pandemic has affected them and how important health and safety is at these companies.

Near the start of the traineeship on a Thursday morning we did a practical sports session as a group on the 4G pitch where we took part in activities such as tennis, rounders and cricket. The type of subject areas I’ve covered so far on the traineeship have included work preparation tasks such as CV writing, job search and application, I’ve also covered personal development skills such as goal setting and mentoring.

In addition, I’ve also written multiple match reports for the girls’ and boys’ teams as part of my work placement with the Trust and look to complete more during the rest of the traineeship.

Joel’s passion and talent for writing the match reports didn’t go unnoticed and they were published on Derby County Community Trust’s social media channels and website, and were even noticed by a local PR firm.

In my opinion, doing the match reports has been the most beneficial aspect of the traineeship so far as I have a keen interest for a career in sports journalism and it has also helped me become a more independent and confident person as I now know I can get on buses by myself without a problem to get to where I need to go.

Doing the match reports has also increased my skills as I have now completed multiple interviews with the player of the match after the games.

Due to us returning to national lockdown, Joel hasn’t been able to complete further match reports, however he has been attending virtual sessions from across the Trust to write up and review them through the eyes of a participant!

When the traineeship has finished, there will hopefully be an option for me to stay on within DCCT through one of their other programmes. This will allow me to carry on with my match reporting, which will be good for me to get some valuable experience under my belt.

An option I’m considering doing after the traineeship is the Football and Education course with DCCT which involves studying while also playing for one of the Derby County football teams. Instead of playing football, I can choose the alternative of carrying on with my match reporting for the Trust for their teams.

My career goals in the years to come are to work in the sports journalism industry as it’s something I am passionate about and want to make a career out of.

Jodie Hayes, Education Lead at Derby County Community Trust, said:

‘Joel’s progression throughout the time he has been with us has been amazing. His growth in confidence and independence have been great to see and will help him achieve great things in the future. Joel’s taken every opportunity given to him and committed to them all in full to ensure he has made the most of the experiences he’s had. We are really keen to continue to support Joel in his development and aspirations to one day become a sports journalist.’


‘Joel’s progression throughout the time he has been with us has been amazing. His growth in confidence and independence have been great to see and will help him achieve great things in the future.'

Jodie, Education Lead at the Trust