Dec 9, 2015

How Michael transformed his life with your support

By 18, Michael, from Bedfordshire, was homeless. His relationship with his family had collapsed, forcing him to leave. He felt life had no meaning and he was on a destructive path, until a friend intervened.

Michael moved into a hostel and, after being unemployed for 12 months, his Jobcentre adviser had recommended our Get Into Railways programme.

The four-week programme, which helps unemployed young people find a job in the rail industry, included sessions on teamwork, becoming more employable and having a positive mental attitude.

“The Prince's Trust taught me how to think positively. When faced with a bad situation, I learnt to avoid thinking negatively. Negative thinking used to really plague me.”

Michael’s commitment to the programme was obvious. Each day he was the first to arrive and one of the last to leave.

For him, our staff stood out most, keeping him going when he felt like giving up.

“The Prince's Trust staff were so encouraging and positive all the time, it made me believe I could do it. I’d never felt like that before, no one had believed in me.”

Michael points out that when his finances hit rock bottom, one of the team organised a bus pass so he could still get to sessions.

Despite a long commute and 5am starts, Michael enjoyed his two-week placement and was offered a full-time job on completion.

"Looking at my first wage slip, I felt this was the start of something good. Before doing the Get into Railways programme, I didn't think that would ever be something I would get to feel."

Michael aspires to join the police force one day.

Sep 10, 2015

How Andrew transformed his life with your supprt

A difficult childhood left Andrew insecure, lacking in confidence and with little hope for the future. With support from The Prince's Trust he realised what he is capable of, and is now considering a career in the army.

Andrew was fostered in his early teens, having spent much of his childhood in care. his troubled background and learning difficulties meant he was placed in a school for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

"I was really shy and too scared to try anything new. I felt negative about everything."

When his school began collaborating with a local mainstream school, Andrew was invited to join their Prince's Trust xl club, which helps improve the confidence and motivation of young people who are struggling in education.

Andrew grabbed every opportunity that came his way, impressing his teachers, peers, and most importantly, himself. He overcame his fears and shyness to take part in - and sometime lead - activities that included sailing and mountain biking, and gained a number of awards and qualifications.

Happier and confident, Andrew joined the Army Cadet force and completed his first star badge. As part of his Duke of Edinburgh award he gave a presentation to the entire school - an incredible achievement for someone who used to struggle to speak in class.

Music has always helped Andrew through hard times, and with support from The Prince's Trust he completed a placement with music therapy group 'Beat This', and is now one of their volunteers.

These days, Andrew has every reason to be optimistic about his future. He's working hard in school, hopes to continue volunteering with the music therapy group, and is on track for promotion within the Army Cadets. He also harbours ambitions of a career as an Army musician.

"xl gave me the chance to find out what I'm good at. It has completely changed my life."  

Jun 16, 2015

Gemma's success story - thanks to your support

Gemma, now 23, went into care at the age of nine when physical abuse and alcoholism was discovered at home.

At 16, memories of the past resurfaced and her usually bubbly, confident self withdrew into a dark space of depression and self-doubt. “I didn’t speak to many people, couldn’t leave the house and struggled to care for myself,” she says.

Her foster mother heard about The Prince’s Trust and felt it could help. Gemma, from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, ignored her own doubts and started the Team programme.

Immediately, she was dedicated. She took on leadership responsibilities, asked for feedback throughout and boosted everyone with her infectious personality. Gemma took a proactive approach to her future, too, by seeking out a careers advisor at The Trust and cementing her ambition to become a nurse.

The Team programme, which was delivered in partnership with Great Yarmouth College, is a 12-week personal development course that gives unemployed young people the skills and confidence to find work.

“I left my comfort zone and got all my old qualities back – plus respect for myself,” she says. “The course made me realise I can do anything, no matter what my past has been. I’m so grateful for that.”

Gemma has just finished the first year of her nursing degree at Middlesex University.

“Because of The Trust, I took the leap to live away from home for the first time, which I was really worried about. It has really paid off and I couldn’t be happier living in London.”

“If I hadn’t done Team I’d still be living in Great Yarmouth, either on Jobseeker’s Allowance or in a job that made me miserable.”

Since discovering she thrives under pressure, Gemma’s long-term goal is to become a paramedic or surgical nurse. “I desperately hope to influence other children in care to follow their dreams, too,” she adds.

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