The Northampton Prince’s Trust “Teams” run by Tresham College are creating winning opportunities for young people.
Northampton South Team 45, which means the 45th squad to take part in a 12-week course, won at the East of England and East Midlands Celebrate Success Awards and were presented with the Community Impact Award sponsored by Dell Technologies. The ceremony was held at the Metrodome in Nottingham.
Cheryl Needham, Head of Adult and Community Learning said:
“Tresham College has set a great example, which is now being shared across The Bedford College Group and region, as to how a Prince’s Trust Team course can change the lives of young people and bring them in from the cold and into Further Education and employment.
“Prince’s Trust Northampton South Team 45 are a truly inspiring team and are very deserving winners of the Community Impact Award. They should be very proud and we’re sure they will all continue to thrive. Well Done Northampton South Team 45.
“Prince’s Trust Team is a challenging 12-week pre-employment programme, supporting personal development and inspiring young people to move forward with new confidence and ambition. Team helps young people uncover hidden talents, assume responsibility for tasks, develop team-working and communication skills, gain awareness of and contribute to their community.”
Meanwhile the Northampton North Team 62 continues to be inspired by Senior Team Leader Paul Hamblin who can lay claim to the fact that 8 out of 10 young people on his courses go on to jobs or Further Education courses leading to improved career prospects.
The last Team of 2019 included Jacob Greenway, aged 16, who has been offered a job with international company RICOH after taking part in work experience there as part of the programme designed to improve opportunities for young people.
“This is despite him not having a degree, a criteria for many entry-level jobs. It is because the company were able to meet Jacob, see him in the workplace and recognised his talents.
“Companies like Ricoh and Reed Employment effectively ask us for a reference about time-keeping and commitment regarding our young people and they trust us because we have a proven record of maintaining great relationships with employers,” said Paul, as ex-paratrooper turned adult trainer who leads from the front – particularly with abseiling which is one of the challenges the young people have to undertake as part of a residential week of the course.
“I don’t ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself – but as the weeks go by and when it comes to the final presentation I step back and let them speak for themselves.”
The December presentation by the Northampton North Team included a “news style” presentation whereby the young people, who before the start of the 12 week course could barely speak to each other, speak in front a room full of employers.
Paul who has been running Prince’s Trust Teams for 20 years at Tresham College, added:
It shows how far they come in 12 weeks. At the start one young person sat on the steps at the front door refusing to come in and join us. I said ‘You have a choice here today come inside and start a new pathway in your life’. She did and what a difference it has made to her.
One unique part of the Northampton North course is the fact the students volunteer at “Revitalise” holiday for disabled people in Essex, in addition to their residential course in the countryside.
“This is where they meet up with people who are cheerful in the face of tremendous difficulties and realise how lucky they are to be in a position to help others. Everyone has a role to play there and they all come away expressing how privileged they feel to have been part of this,” added Paul.
One of the tasks the Team took was redecorating the interior of the Vernon Terrace Community Centre off Stockley Street, Northampton (Photo of painting in action) which they use as a base for the team.
“Again we have charities and organisations approaching us to help them via the Community Project part of the Team course – the Prince’s Trust Northampton North is a force for good,” added Paul.
The success of Tresham College in running Prince’s Trust courses has been taken up by Bedford College since the two merged in 2017.
Bedford Team 5, based at the Bedford Learning Centre in High Street, Bedford and led by Mark Williams has been working with homeless people in the town. At a presentation held at the Higgins Bedford Museum on 18th December 2019, the group explained how they raised funds to buy materials for painting therapy and worked with the YMCA and the Bedford Open Door organisations. One of the team had a photo included in an exhibition which was featured on the BBC.