Matt Bentall has worked with young people on Prince’s Trust programmes for two and a half years. He shares his insights into the problems facing young people today.
40% of young people who aren’t in employment, education or training tell us that they don’t feel in control of their lives. Is this something you hear from young people too?
Absolutely yes. They don’t feel trusted to make their own decisions. The Trust is good at giving guidance and a lot of our programmes allow them to decide what they want to do. It gives them back an element of control.
Do you find you need to persuade young people that they have the ability to change things for themselves?
Self-confidence is probably the biggest barrier we have. I come across young people with incredible talents, but there isn’t anyone encouraging them. This could be because they’ve grow up in care or they simply don’t have a supportive adult around.
How do you overcome young people’s lack of self-confidence?
I encourage them to try things they’ve never done before. Then I can show them that, if they can manage to learn that new skill, what’s to say they can’t get a job or go to college?
Young people right now say they feel confused and left behind by political and economic change. Is this affecting the young people you work with?
I work in the capital, and the young people here see inequality every day. If you’re a teenager walking out of your council flat in Brixton, you’re going to walk past guys wearing suits that cost more than you have to live on for a month.
Is there anything you’d like to say to our supporters?
We are so lucky to have supporters that allow us to respond to the varied needs of young people. It’s incredible that our staff can come up with some great new idea for how we can better help young people and, thanks to our supporters, we can make it happen.