Costain: A Patron Of The Prince's Trust
Author: Tom Cleary
In June to August 2013, 985,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed which is an unemployment rate of 21.0%. This number jumps for 16-17 year olds to 36.3% and is a rate that has increased considerably since the early 2000s. The Prince’s Trust is a youth charity that helps change young lives by giving practical and financial support to disadvantaged young people in a bid to reverse this number.
One particular programme the Prince’s Trust run is called TEAM, which is a 12 week programme aimed at 16-25 year olds to give them skills, qualifications and general know how to help them become more employable. As part of this programme, there are two workshop days, one on CV writing and job applications and one on interview skills and techniques, both of which myself and another graduate, Chris Crabtree, attended on two separate programmes.
What was most apparent from getting involved with these days was that the basic skills and knowledge we take for granted isn’t there. These are young adults, quite often from difficult backgrounds, who are not aware of the correct way to write a CV, what questions to ask when ringing up for a job or of the impression being punctual and dressing correctly can make. Therefore, the Prince’s Trust relies heavily upon people from the world of work giving up their time to teach their participants all the essential skills and more to hopefully stand them out from the crowd.
Although the Prince’s Trust is a charity, the impression we got from the participants is that they do not want charity, they want to be able to prove that they are employable and have something to offer. Out of the two days we attended, four young lads who were interested in the industry were pro-active enough to ask me directly if there were any jobs going at the project I am based on (London Bridge Station Redevelopment). In turn, I passed on their details to Hannah Rich (Environmental Manager) and Mick Caldwell (Community Liaison Officer) to see if we had any spaces for them. After a few months of interviews, CSCS training/tests and other courses, two of the four were taken on at the project, plus a brother of one. The two brothers have joined Costain directly as steel fixing apprentices and the other has joined Keltbray as a labourer. The young man who joined Keltbray has no school qualifications at all and struggles to read and write, but Keltbray was so impressed by his desire and hard work that it wanted to take him on.
This young man never missed a session and for the first interview day turned up two hours early because he wanted to make sure he wasn’t late. The other two who I met on the TEAM programme are also doing well, with one finding an apprenticeship with another company as a brick layer and the other one taking up a full time course as an electrician at his local college.
Thanks to the hard work from Mick and Hannah and especially the Prince’s Trust attendees, they are no longer one of the young adults making up another statistic. If they put in as much effort going forward as they have done so far, I have no doubt they will be set for life.
If you think you can make a difference, or want to know how you can get involved with the Prince’s Trust, please get in touch or visit the Prince’s Trust website at http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/.