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Helping young unemployed people to find new direction is the best part of the job for instructors on The Prince’s Trust Team courses at the Education Training Collective.

The 12-week personal development course offers the chance to develop life skills such as confidence, leadership and teamwork.

With new courses starting across the region this month (January 2022), those aged 16 to 25 and not in work or education, are being urged to take part.

“It helped to boost my confidence,” said Owen, who signed up for The Prince’s Trust Redcar Team after finding himself out of work during the Covid lockdowns.

Previously working as an apprentice hairdresser, he said: “I had been out of work for six months when my careers advisor suggested I give it a go.”  Unsure what to expect, the 17-year-old quickly found that he settled in.

The aim of the programme is to help inspire and motivate young people. It’s a chance to try new challenges, including a community project, outdoor activities and work placement, as well as getting CV writing and interview tips.

It certainly worked for Owen who, after impressing on his placement, was offered an apprenticeship job offer at Silhouette Hair & Beauty in Redcar.

Job success was also on the cards for Nathan; a lucky break for the 24-year-old who admitted that, feeling the nerves, he nearly quit the Bishop Auckland Team programme before the course had even started.

“When I first joined I was nervous as I hadn’t been around a lot of people for a while,” he said. “As time went on I really settled down.  I felt supported by everybody there.”

Encouraged to step outside of what he describes as his “comfort bubble” he added: “I learned that I’m more capable of doing things than I originally thought.”

Now working as a laundry operative and with a renewed sense of confidence, Nathan said: “The Prince’s Trust course helped me to get this job, by helping with my CV and interview skills.”

Describing the programme as “incredibly fun”, he added: “I recommend the Team programme to anybody who is unsure of what they want their next steps to be or simply want something to do in between jobs or education.  It’s a good place to make friends and to challenge your personal beliefs for the better!” 

For Sophie, The Prince’s Trust helped to rebuild her confidence and give her the drive to be able to speak openly about mental health.

The 21-year-old from Middlesbrough, who has completed two Prince’s Trust Team courses in Stockton as well as the youth charity’s Fairbridge Programme, said: “I quickly found I could talk to the tutors about anything.  I was inspired by how open they were and that helped me to open up.”

Having previously faced struggles with her own mental health, she said: “I proved to myself that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”  For her, this included canoeing and gorge walking, as well as helping create sensory gardens for two residential homes and even designing a bespoke mural, all part of the course.

Passionate about art and keen to help others to understand mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of, Sophie now volunteers at an art-based mental health charity in Hartlepool, she is working part-time and has even submitted her university application to study fine art.

Excited about what the future holds and grateful to all those that have helped her, she said: “I have learnt a lot about myself including that I’m good at working in a team, communicating with others and listening to what people have to say.”

If you are aged 16 to 25 and not currently in work, education or training, it’s not too late to secure your place on a free Prince’s Trust Team course starting in January.

Start dates are:

Monday January 17, 2022 - Bishop Auckland, Catterick and Darlington

Monday January 24, 2022 – Middlesbrough and Stockton

For more information visit: www.stockton.ac.uk/princes-trust

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