Instead, the former student of John Wheatley College in Glasgow's East End struggled to find work
But thanks to construction for the Commonwealth Games, Ryan has recently completed an apprenticeship and has been given permanent employment.
Firms which bid for Games work have to provide benefits for the community - including taking on apprentices.
In December 2009, Ryan was recruited by VHE Construction which was working on the Athletes' Village. He was part of the team carrying out remediation of the site and was involved in all aspects of the work.
Ryan, who lives in the East End, was sent to the National Construction Skills College and also trained in plant operation.
He went on to work on the Dalmarnock Power Station site and was put through further training by VHE.
Ryan, who will be 21 in January, was eventually seconded to sister company AMCO.
Bosses were so impressed they asked he be transferred to them permanently.
VHE construction director Gordon Wilson said: "We are pleased Ryan has been able to forge a career in the construction industry through this opportunity."