Making friends had never been an issue for Jade Lownsbrough, 21, from Cardiff, until she went to college to study her A Levels. She struggled to integrate, didn’t enjoy her courses and lost so much self esteem she dreaded waking up in the morning.
She quit four months before her exams expecting to find work, but the reality was very different: Jade found herself unemployed for more than 10 months and deeply unhappy.
Jade says: “In my head I was going to find a job at the drop of a hat and work my way up. But it just wasn’t like that. I wasn’t lazy – I tried so hard at everything – but I was a victim of today’s economy and ended up feeling a complete failure.”
Jade’s local Job Centre Plus connected her with The Prince’s Trust and she signed up for its Get into Customer Service programme, delivered in partnership with Admiral.
Jade had turned a corner and quickly found herself employed and earning a decent salary. Shortly afterwards, she was invited to become a Young Ambassador, a Prince’s Trust volunteer who uses a range of opportunities to share their story and encourage other young people get involved.
“You learn a lot about yourself as a Young Ambassador because you have to speak about yourself all the time. It can be nerve-wracking doing a speech but the training you get helps, and I was determined to do a good job because I knew I was representing jobless young people and The Prince’s Trust, and I was proud of that.
During her time as a Young Ambassador, The Trust asked Jade to become a Job Ambassador, something Jade says made her feel like a real professional.
“I’d made friends with lots of really inspiring Job Ambassadors when I’d been a Young Ambassador and felt honoured that The Trust were investing in my personal development. My role was to go out into the community and network with youth organisations and help signpost other young people.
“I met so many different types of people – some were work ready, some had addictions and low self esteem – I wanted to help them all. The best thing about it was being able to refer them to a Prince’s Trust course and, when the course was over, seeing how much it helped them.”
Jade’s involvement with The Prince’s Trust has transformed her confidence and enhanced her CV. Not only can she apply for a wider range of jobs now, but because she’s listed her Prince’s Trust experiences on her CV, she knows interviewers will remember her.
What’s more, she has a clear career direction and is mapping her way towards it.
“I think because I loved seeing the people I referred to Prince’s Trust programmes get into jobs, education or training, it’s made me realise I like seeing projects through from the start to finish. So I now know I want to work in Project Management. That gives me something to work towards, which is really exciting for me.”
Today, Jade is working in administration in the private sector and is about to start an Open University course in business management. She hopes to become an Outreach Executive for The Prince’s Trust in the future, but ultimately wants to become a self-employed project manager.