“I’m a completely different person when I have work to get up for and keep me motivated, so it was difficult on my mental health being out of work.”

Jake Chase, 22 from Limavady, was unemployed for eight months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week he was offered a job in retail after completing a course with The Prince’s Trust.

“I first got involved with The Prince’s Trust a year ago when I did their Team programme. It is a 12-week personal development programme and it really helped me with my confidence. Before Team I was experiencing depression, but the group activities really brought me out of myself and made me feel much better.”

After completing Team Jake worked in temporary retail and hospitality roles but found himself on Universal Credit at the start of the year just as the coronavirus pandemic began.

“I was applying for roles but businesses were shutting down, so I wasn’t even getting replies to my applications and for a few months there were next to no jobs advertised.

“The Job Centre told me about the Get into Retail programme The Prince’s Trust were running with Lidl. It was a four-week programme that involved work experience in the store and working online with the Prince’s Trust team on my employability skills.

“The staff were supportive and encouraging during the programme, they provided me with feedback that really helped.”

After completing the programme last week Jake was offered a job with Lidl working in their Limavady store.

“I was over the moon when I found out I got the job! It has brought a smile to my face; I just feel I am a lot more confident and outgoing when I’m in work and interacting with other people. The Prince’s Trust has made such a difference in my life, they have given me the most support I could ask for, it’s been great.”