Heloise Stankard and Jasmine Roberts, our Prince's Trust Team programme leaders, describe how the programme can change the lives of the young people who take part and share the inspirational stories of two previous participants. 

Some of the names and details in this account have been changed to protect privacy but the narratives are otherwise factual.

Steven

Steven was 16 when he joined our Prince’s Trust Team programme, but was so disengaged from both education and the outside world that he could barely remember secondary school and struggled to find his way to and from our sessions at a local club just minutes from his house.

He told us that he couldn’t read, but as we gained his trust we discovered he hadn’t written anything for such a long time that he was ashamed of his handwriting. It was simply less traumatic for him to feign total illiteracy. We told him, truthfully, that his handwriting was better than most doctors’!

Work experience is a key part of the Team course and falls towards the end of the 12-week programme. Steven was able to get some experience working with a gardener, something that had caught his attention as a potential interest. His mentor kindly paid him for the work, and the sense of achievement and pride was a light bulb moment for him: he realised he could earn money doing something he enjoyed. He had barely left his bedroom in years when he joined us. He now has confidence and ambition and is inspired to move into a career. We barely recognise the person we first encountered.

Transforming futures

The young people on our Prince’s Trust Team programmes may have spent months or years job-searching without success, or they may have done almost nothing society would consider productive. Almost all lack confidence. Some are so disengaged from what we consider “normal life” that they have social anxiety at the prospect of leaving their homes.

We watch these young people transform over the course of 12 weeks. They develop confidence through teamwork and acquire social skills that help them in their job search. Some secure job offers stemming from their work experience. Many lose their anxiety. Many develop employability skills and feel ready to go into work.

It’s impossible to overestimate the impact of the course on the young people, aged 16-24, who join it.

Andrew

Another of these young people is Andrew, who was self-conscious and nervous around others for personal reasons that greatly held him back in life. While on our course, he managed to secure work experience in the kitchen of a local pub, and so enjoyed it that he decided he wanted to become a chef. He was highly motivated, cycling to his placement daily and deeply committed to making the best of the opportunity. After two weeks of work experience, he was offered a job for the first time at the age of 20.

Creating opportunities

A lot of the young people we meet on the Team programme didn’t finish school, so they are - in theory more than practice - entering the job market at a time of stiff competition for entry-level jobs. Even the best graduates are fighting for places, though there’s no question of these young people competing with them. They are, in fact, lucky if they can enter the job market at all.

Young people who lack work experience, qualifications or education and who have been disengaged from the system face huge barriers. Many are not well-supported at home. All that lies between them and a better life is an opportunity. For many, The Prince’s Trust Team programme is that opportunity.

Why join Team?

People join us for different reasons. Some want to make friends. Some want to become more employable or learn about career options. Some want to gain confidence. Some are really ambitious and recognise that Team can help get them on the right path.

We know it can be daunting making the decision to join the Team programme, but our young people start together and finish together. They can become like a family or even a business-in-miniature. We’ve seen young Team graduates form great and lasting friendships, one group even forming a house-share. As for the difference it can make, eight young people from our last Aylesbury Team programme went into work, and some of those were struggling to leave the house when they joined us.

Freedom of choice

There’s a lot of choice in Team: we have a number of different activities, and participants play a big part in deciding what they do. We make sure the experience meets the interests of the group, so when you join us, your experience over the 12 weeks will be partly up to you.

The next Prince’s Trust Team programmes

We love seeing young people make a fresh start. We repeatedly see people leave Team with new confidence, ambition and inspiration - 12 weeks isn’t a long time to change a life, but our young people do it for themselves, with a little help from us.

Our next Prince’s Trust Team programmes launch in Bracknell and Aylesbury on January 24th.

Learn more about the Team programme, register or send information about the programme to someone you know.

Or you can simply contact us for an informal chat using the details below: 

Aylesbury Team: call Heloise on 07827 947306 or email [email protected]

Bracknell Team: call Jasmine 07827 947315 or email [email protected] 

Prince's Trust Team