Though we now are very much on the brink of unknown territory, things were far worse forty years ago, in 1976. Unemployment was rising, and inflation was spiralling apparently out of control, and some of those aged between 18 and 30 were almost being cast adrift on a sea of uncertainty. One where keeping your head above water was a serious challenge. Against that backdrop, Prince Charles finished his time in the Royal Navy and chose to invest his severance pay into an idea which would give people adrift a lifeline to help them get themselves into a more successful lifestyle.
Through the intervening years, the Trust has started many new initiatives both in providing support for those between 18 and 30, and in the way, it raised money. The Trust has had support from many pop stars which has enabled it to put on many fund-raising concerts across the country. The country has gone through many things over the intervening decades from inner city riots in the 1970s to the financial crash at the beginning of this century. But, despite all this, the Trust has been able to help 825,000 young people, and on average 3 out of 4 have positive outcomes.
There are now eight different ways that the Trust can provide help to young people. Mosaic is a mentoring course, run in association with schools it can help children from deprived areas that need a guiding hand and friendly advice from time to time. With growing class sizes and pressure on teachers, Achieve is a brilliant education programme for those teenagers who struggle to fit in the standard educational model and run the risk of exclusion leading to under-achievement. The programme offers an alternative practical approach to unlock their hidden potential.
Sometimes, it is just an injection of cash people need, and Development Awards enable those 14 to 25 to get into work, education or training. Similarly, Get Started are short courses for those aged 16 to 25 for those interested in sport, music or the arts. More generally, Get Into is a short vocational course tailored hone skills for those aged 16 to 25 who want to get into a specific sector.
However, some of the training is based more on those skills which are not really covered in the subject based learning of school. Team is a twelve-week personal development course which involves community projects, practical experience and qualifications for 16 to 25-year-olds. The Trust have also merged with another charity Fairbridge; this course helps people really change their lives by giving them self-confidence, motivation and other personal skills to empower them to fully achieve their potential.
With some people, what they would like to do is not work for other employers, but start their own business. Enterprise is a programme for those between 18 and 30 to help them assess whether their ideas are viable and self-employment is the right course of action. There are people supported by the Enterprise programme in the 1970’s who now have thriving companies who are supporting those just starting out with The Prince’s Trust.
The Prince’s Trust has centres all over the four home countries, however, as they look forward to their fiftieth anniversary after another ten years, they intend to go global with the support they can provide. All of this though comes at a price, and in addition to the many rock concerts which provide valuable income there are many other sporting events, challenges and commercial support which enables the Trust to provide valuable support to those who need that helping hand to unlock their potential and achieve their dreams, rather than live a nightmare of a life.
For further information on the work of The Prince’s Trust and how you can help their much-needed help and support, go to www.princes-trust.org.uk