Since the Prince’s Trust was established in 1976, it has given more than 400,000 young people the chance to succeed: it has helped almost 25,000 14-30-year-olds in the past year alone. One of its most successful initiatives has been the business start-up programme, which provides low-interest loans and grants to promising entrepreneurs who have been turned down by high-street banks. The trust is now setting up more than 4500 young people in business each year. Last year, 210 of these start-up firms were in the construction sector.
Each year, the trust receives thousands of applications for business funding and each one is assessed on its merits. This approach seems to work: almost 60% of trust-supported business are still trading in their third year, compared with 35% of high street bank-sponsored start-ups. This high success rate is also down to the investment the Prince’s Trust puts into its entrepreneurs in the early years of their business. For the first three years, they receive the advice of a volunteer business mentor – a local businessperson able to spare a few hours a month.
Working together I am sure we could do more to address the industry's skills shortage with the provision of work placements, or even jobs for those ready for employment
Prince Charles, foreword, Building Awards programme
But the trust isn’t just there to help out people with big ideas – it also recognises the difference that can be made to young people’s lives by providing them with vocational skills. In partnership with UK Skills, it is organising Skill City, an exhibition to show off the career opportunities afforded by skills ranging from hairdressing to plumbing and carpentry. More than 80,000 school children and unemployed people are expected to attend. As well as this, the trust’s personal development programme is designed to provide 16-25-year-olds with the confidence and the key skills needed for today’s world of work.
Building Awards 2002
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