His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited Walworth, South London today to meet with young people supported by The Prince’s Trust through the UK Government’s Kickstart Scheme.

Joined by Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, The Prince’s Trust Founder and President visited the JD Sports branch and St Peter’s Church in Walworth. They heard from young people who were previously unemployed and supported by the youth charity into employment with the JD Group, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Homebase, Pets At Home, LADBible and the Metropolitan Police Service.

Youth unemployment peaked at almost 15% at the height of the pandemic, and unemployment can have longstanding implications on young people’s futures. The Kickstart scheme, alongside The Trust’s employability support, has provided young people with the skills and experience they need for work.

By working in partnership with employers in a range of sectors from retail and hospitality to technology and healthcare, The Prince’s Trust gives young people the confidence and practical support needed to secure employment and stabilise their lives.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “The Kickstart Scheme has transformed thousands of young lives, helping people get the skills and experience they need to thrive.

"I was proud to meet some of those young people today, and hear how they have seized the opportunity of Kickstart with both hands.”

Abi Garnsworthy, 19, from Manchester, a Prince’s Trust supported employee at Pets at Home, said: “I was unemployed for over a year after I left school during the pandemic. I applied to lots of jobs but was getting nowhere, and the more rejections I got, the less confident I felt in myself.

In 2021, my job coach told me about the Kickstart scheme. Starting a new job can be scary, and the extra support from The Prince’s Trust helped me find my feet after a tough time looking for work. I love working as a Talent Acquisition Coordinator for Pets at Home, I’m gaining lots of skills and beginning my career in recruitment.

Jonathan Townsend, UK Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust said: “At The Prince’s Trust, we know that securing employment can help young people build stable and fulfilling lives. We have provided vital support to thousands of young people on the Kickstart Scheme who were at risk of long-term unemployment.

By working in partnership with employers in a range of industries, The Trust’s employability programmes provide crucial support to young people seeking work and help to ensure this generation have the confidence and skills they need to enter meaningful careers.

Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman at JD Sports Fashion plc said: “It has been a privilege to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales and The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP to our Walworth JD Sports branch today.

We are proud to employ such inspiring and talented young people through partnership with The Prince’s Trust and the Kickstart Scheme and are looking forward to continuing to work together to support more young people along their career path.

The Kickstart Scheme was setup by the UK Government in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and rising numbers of young people at risk of long-term unemployment. With support from The Trust, over 4,200 16 – 24-year-olds have started Kickstart placements with over 50 employers from the retail, construction, tech, media and hospitality sectors. This includes over 1,000 with the JD Group.

The Prince’s Trust helps tens of thousands of young people each year and three in four young people on Prince’s Trust programmes move into work, education or training.