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True North: Northern Star — The Prince’s Trust

4 min read

True North

True North Northern Star The Princes Trust

For nearly 50 years, The Prince’s Trust has transformed the lives of young people facing disadvantage across the UK. It aims to ensure that every young individual, regardless of their background or challenges faced, is equipped with the tools they need to succeed in life.

As part of our True North report, we celebrate our 'Northern Stars' — selected organisations that we highlight as having the right approach to addressing core challenges. Here we take a look at the Prince’s Trust.


A localised approach to empowering young people

The Prince’s Trust runs a diverse range of programmes for young people aged 11 to 30. These initiatives are designed to enhance confidence and impart vital life skills that are essential for success. The organisation’s core objectives include reintegrating individuals into education, training and employment, or supporting them in establishing their own businesses. By empowering young people, The Prince’s Trust enables them to forge a brighter future and achieve their aspirations.

In tackling the persistent challenges of geographic disparities, The Prince’s Trust has adopted a strategic, place-based approach. It looks to maximise its impact by using data to identify the areas most in need of support and specific programmes aligned to local needs — with a specific focus on large metropolitan areas, where deprivation is more prevalent, as well as opportunities to address that deprivation.

Youth Development Leads (YDL) play a pivotal role in identifying where support is most needed on the ground. These individuals facilitate connections with local partners, making programmes accessible and relevant to the targeted demographics. This localised approach bolsters engagement and ensures that The Prince’s Trust’s offerings resonate with the people it serves.


Tackling mental health as a barrier to employment

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing young people in society today is in mental health. The Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index 2023 — annual research into the happiness and confidence of 16–25-year-olds across the UK — identified that well-being was at its lowest recorded rate. This in itself is preventing many young people from even seeking employment.

To address this, The Prince’s Trust focuses on supporting young people to build strong foundations for emotional well-being, providing them with the confidence to seek work and thrive in employment.


Supporting 6,000 young people in Manchester through the Future Workforce Fund

An example of success in its place-based approach came through the Future Workforce Fund, in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Part-funded by the Department for Education and match-funded by local businesses, over three years the programme supported more than 6,000 young people across Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs.

Three in four participants reported positive outcomes within three months of engagement with The Prince’s Trust, with over 70% coming from the most underserved communities in the region and one in three having been out of employment, education or training for more than 12 months.


Enhancing wellbeing with tangible results

Crucially, the programme not only imparts tangible skills but also significantly enhances their mental health and self-esteem.

On average, participants witnessed a 9% improvement in their well-being, with this figure nearly doubling for those with pre-existing mental health challenges.

The Future Workforce Fund has enabled The Prince’s Trust to meet the varied and ever-changing needs of young people, with further initiatives including support and resources for digitally isolated young people, accessible life-skills evening programmes, free bus travel for care leavers and a partnership with Manchester Deaf Centre to train YDLs in basic British Sign Language — improving the accessibility of its digital programmes.

The Prince’s Trust now aims to replicate the success of the fund across more Northern metropolitan areas, acting as an exemplar of the power of collaboration between different sectors — public, private and voluntary.

Download the True North report and join the network.

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