Figures show that Wales is home to the UK’s highest population of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). But behind the statistics are people who face very real barriers to employment and learning.
The Prince’s Trust has been working closely with Career Wales (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Welsh Government) for more than five years to help disadvantaged young people overcome these barriers and access more promising and prosperous futures.
Ali Abdi, a Professional Youth and Community Worker with Cardiff Youth Service, working on a City wide NEET project in partnership with Career Wales, says:
"Not because they didn’t want to learn, but because they were bullied or had problems at home that made learning or attending school difficult – and because of this, they don’t have the qualifications they need to secure an interview.
“Prince’s Trust programmes help young people overcome their barriers so that they can stand on their own two feet. I’ve seen it time and time again. For many, the programmes completely transforms their lives – they leave more employable, their confidence has grown, they feel better personally about themselves, and they have real experience and qualifications they can use to get that all important job. The Get into courses are particularly fabulous at this because they’re vocational and work on an ear-to-the-ground premise.”
In 2014, 6,024 disadvantaged young people participated in Get into’s, and left with key employability skills like communication and teamwork, as well as sector-specific skills.
Dave Singh, from Riverside in Cardiff, says: “Ali referred me to The Prince’s Trust Cymru for the Get into Customer Service with Admiral Insurance because I wanted a job and had struggled to get one after trying on my own for ages. When I met with Ali he knew straight away what was available and when which was very useful to me making my choice. Although I was alright at school I still lacked a bit of confidence, so when he told me about Get into I signed up right away.
“Thanks to both Ali and The Prince’s Trust I now have the confidence to apply for jobs, employer experience to add to my CV and the skills to move into employment.”
Ali continues: “I’ve referred hundreds of young people to Prince’s Trust programmes and I haven’t had a single one say that they haven’t enjoyed their time on them.”
“One of the best things, I think, is its Development Awards. When I have a young person who has all the tools they need to get into work but they don’t have the money to get the license or the uniform they need for that job, or the fare to travel to work, I can help them by applying for an award of up to £250.
Of course, the economic wellbeing of a country relies on a workforce that is nationwide and this means reaching Wales’s most rural and socially diverse young people. For the last two years, Ali has represented Cardiff Youth Service on The Prince’s Trust BME Steering Group, helping to share good practice and advising how The Trust can adapt its programmes to be more culturally relevant to different community groups. Working together, The Prince’s Trust and Cardiff Youth Service with Career Wales are helping support more young people from different backgrounds and minority groups than ever before.
“The Prince’s Trust isn’t just an organisation that talks about what it wants to do, it actively goes out there and does it. Everything is geared towards helping vulnerable young people whatever their background or ethnicity.
“There’s not much red tape, in fact it’s very easy to access and the flexibility of the staff to adjust programmes to a particular client group is fantastic.