Employment programme helps transform young people’s opportunities

A group of young people, not in education, employment or training, have spoken about how an employment programme run by the Prince’s Trust has transformed their opportunities in life.

The 11 young people, aged between 16 and 25, were taking part in Team, a 12-week personal development programme run by The Prince’s Trust. It is designed to help young people gain skills, work experience and self-belief, as well as achieve a nationally-recognised qualification.

At a presentation on Wednesday [09 August] at PwC’s Birmingham Cornwall Court office, the young people spoke of their journey from starting the course to completing it and what they hope to achieve as a result of taking part.

In front of their friends, family, volunteers and local businesses, including PwC, the young people gave individual presentations on the highlights of their project and talked through their own personal journeys. They also received The Prince’s Trust Certificate in Employment, Teamwork and Community Skills.

Two members of the team have secured the jobs they were seeking, five are awaiting interviews in industries they are interested in, one is starting a college course in September, and others are looking to join the next Prince’s Trust programme or apprenticeships.

This year’s Prince’s Trust Birmingham East Team programme started in August and is sponsored by PwC in the Midlands and run by West Midlands Police in conjunction with the Heart of Worcestershire College.

As part of the programme the young people completed a number of community projects. These included helping to prepare Stechford in its bid for a Britain in Bloom entry, working with cancer support charity Help Harry Help Others to encourage more teenagers to use the centre and its facilities, as well as going on day trips with older people and disabled adults. They also ran fundraising activities to raise more than £300 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital burns unit.

The team also took part in employability sessions at PwC’s Birmingham office, where staff coached them on interview and CV skills to help build their confidence for seeking employment when the programme ends.

Twenty-one-year-old Jack Richards, from Yardley, has asperger’s syndrome and struggled to communicate at school or college. When Jack came to the Prince’s Trust, he was quiet and although he would get involved in the lessons by completing the paperwork, he would often do it in a different room away from others. By the end of the course, Jack is speaking in public and delivered a speech to around 80 people in the auditorium at PwC on Wednesday.

Jack said:

“I feel like a completely different person. My confidence, motivation and mental wellbeing are so much better. I feel capable of taking on anything and succeeding.

“This is all down to the 12 weeks I have been involved with the Prince’s Trust team. The skills the leaders gave me I will never forget and the support from my team has been amazing.”

Harriet Wileman, manager in transaction services at PwC in the Midlands, and the lead for PwC’s involvement in Birmingham, said:

“We are delighted to have continued our support of the Prince’s Trust Team programme as it is always extremely fulfilling to support the young people on this development journey.

“The young people have displayed real professionalism and commitment at each stage of the programme and we are pleased that we have been able to share our skills and experience to add to their individual experiences.”

Rebecca Cooke, partner and community affairs lead for PwC in the Midlands, said:

“As a firm we promote social mobility, not only through removing barriers in our own recruitment process, but also through partnerships like this where our staff can provide skilled volunteering support to enhance others’ opportunities.

“The Prince’s Trust programme enables us to share our experience and skills to benefit people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to access professional organisations like PwC.

“It is a real pleasure to hear the personal and life changing stories that these young people have shared. It is evident the programme has had a significant impact on their life chances and we wish them all the best in achieving their aspirations.”

The evening also included talks from the Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Boycott, Superintendent Keith Fraser and Georgie Moseley from Help Harry Help Others.

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