The Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, and Shadow Minister for Employment, Alison McGovern, visited our South London Centre to meet with local young people and hear about our work. 

Keir Starmer and Alison McGovern had a tour of the centre, including a game of table football, and visited programme activity before enjoying a roundtable discussion with Trust-supported young people.

As part of their visit, they met with young people on an 11-week Get into Digital Marketing programme, that helps build skills, knowledge and experience of digital marketing to prepare young people for a job in the digital or technology sector. In addition to this, they visited a one-week Get Started with Games Design course that gives young people the opportunity to gain experience working with game design software, receive advice from professionals, boost confidence and build communication skills.

Finally, they took part in an in-depth discussion with young people who’d received support from The Trust about the challenges they face today around their employment, training and overall wellbeing, and how The Prince’s Trust has supported them.

One of the young people who joined the discussion was Lottie, 18, from London. Lottie first came to The Prince’s Trust when she wasn’t enjoying her college course and didn’t know where to turn. She completed the 12-week Team programme, gained support and friends and is now enjoying her dream course - Applied Science with Forensics and Psychology.

Joining them on the visit was UK Chief Executive, Jonathan Townsend, and Prince’s Trust International Chief Executive, Will Straw. During this discussion Keir Starmer and Alison McGovern also heard about the work of Prince’s Trust International and how it is empowering young people across 15 countries to build their own futures by developing the skills and confidence needed to succeed. The discussion also touched on a report into the future of work, commissioned by The Prince’s Trust group of charities, which revealed a number of common themes important to young people around the world, including employability skills and mental wellbeing.

Lottie's story 

I came to The Prince’s Trust when I was on the wrong path. I was bullied a lot at school and while I had my Nan to support me, I could get through it. I struggled with my identity and pretended to be someone I wasn’t by wearing make-up and putting on dresses. It just really wasn’t me but as I’m part of the LGBTQ+ community, I was just worried about what people would say.

"After my Nan passed away I felt I’d lost my support blanket and things got a lot harder. I was taken out of school and I used to just stay at home in bed and do nothing. It was awful. Following this I was hospitalised for my mental health. This is something I want to talk about a lot more because when you’re in that position, you just don’t think anyone else cares, but the truth is they do. I think it's important for me to share that message.

"When I got home, I enrolled in college but because I’d missed out on my GCSE’s due to my health, I couldn’t do the course I wanted to do.

My college referred me to The Prince’s Trust and I did the Team programme. I loved every minute of it. I made so many friends and gained loads of support. I realised that I didn’t need to walk the same path as other people to get where I wanted to go.

"We covered the kinds of things that you don’t get to learn in school, career advice that really helped me to believe in myself.

"After the programme with The Trust I enrolled on the college course I always wanted to do – Applied Science with Forensics and Psychology. I absolutely love it and can’t wait to go to University and study even more."