A few years ago, Rickie was working long hours as a full-time janitor at Sainsbury’s. He had a passion for technology from a young age, but only after school was he encouraged to pursue a career in ICT. Rickie quit his job at Sainsbury’s and risked living with reduced income to do a level-2 Business Administration Apprenticeship, which was his first step towards his new career.

“I have been into technology from a young age, but solely for my own entertainment. I built my first website with a friend at the age of 13 where I was making a small profit by selling websites that I designed. It’s what I loved doing, it took my mind off the problems I was having in my life because of being surrounded by challenges at home and at school.

"When I finished school, I then attended college where I was treated like an adult. Teachers took the time to understand me as an individual, helping me to better understand the importance of education and even helped me learn to focus so that I was then able to learn, but I was told many times that due to my poor grades and learning difficulties, a career within the ICT industry was too advanced for me and I should give up and try something more realistic.

Following a Business Administration Apprenticeship with a local council, Rickie found himself looking for a job for several months without success, being told he had insufficient work experience, before being recommended to The Prince’s Trust through the organisation Talent Match.

Rickie is testament to what can be achieved by keeping on trying and not giving up on your dreams... he is an inspiration to other young local people trying to get a start in life.

- Billie Major, Executive VP, Capgemini

“Being out of work and having a child caused a lot of strain in my marriage where we ended up separating. I started to regret taking the risk of leaving my job for an Apprenticeship that provided no guarantee of employment after the 12-months but it seemed right at the time, mainly because I was doing it for my family for the long term.

"With hard work and focussing on something I am passionate about, I finished my level-2 Apprenticeship, and with the right support I can achieve anything and I didn’t want to believe that I wouldn’t have a chance in IT. I went to see another Career Advisor from a lottery funded organisation called Talent Match, and they referred me to the Prince’s Trust where I was then told about the Get Started with App’s course. The information about the course seemed amazing, it was my type of thing and the idea of meeting people in my local area that are into the same things as me, was also interesting.

Get Started with Apps is a week-long digital course, where young people learn about the digital world through interactive lessons and challenges. During the course, young people get to design an app that seeks to solve a real community problem. In teams, they start from scratch and take their idea to fully-fledged prototype app, before finally pitching their app in a true ‘Dragon’s Den’ setting.

The programme helped me a lot with my confidence and self-belief in what I want to achieve. Spending the time with new people and being placed into situations I wouldn’t normally face, was challenging enough that triggered new ways of thinking within myself and meeting new people.

- Rickie Griffith

Capgemini supports the Get Started programme through volunteering, offering guidance and support around key employability skills during the week. In addition to providing an opportunity for participants to learn digital skills, key soft skills are also developed, including teamwork, confidence and leadership.

“What I enjoyed the most was hearing the journey of Sam Billingham [the Programme Leader from the Delivery Partner, Made by Milk]. He could see that I was passionate about ICT and he spent quite a bit of time with me telling me his experiences and relating to my challenges. He inspired me to this time not give up, qualifications are not always important, and things will work out if I stick with it. Having Capgemini employees come in to share their journey was also uplifting, and being able to chat with them and ask them questions was a good opportunity to network. Finding out more about the company only made me want to work there even more.

“After the programme I felt more supported by having The Prince’s Trust on my side and after being inspired by the programme, I was determined to keep with my career ambitions and fight for the career I want within ICT. After some support from The Prince’s Trust, Capgemini then contacted me offering me a 2-week work placement. This was a great opportunity for me to prove myself. By the end of the 2-week work placement, the department I worked in were really impressed by me and wanted to take me on.

"I am now in full-time work as a Software Engineer doing a level-3 Advanced Apprenticeship in a whole new programme set up for me. I am also fundraising for The Prince’s Trust Million Makers which is my way to give back for the support they’ve given me.”

Rickie’s life is a powerful reminder that a one size fits all education policy is not the best way to deliver positive outcomes. Despite what many continue to insist, Rickie is a living proof that young people can flourish without academic qualifications or a University education.

- Rt Hon John Hayes CBE, MP