Changing lives with The Prince’s Trust
Every day, young people are taking the opportunity to change their lives for the better. Over the past four decades, The Prince’s Trust have helped over 870,000 young people to make that change, and here at RBS we’re committed to supporting them in doing that.
The Prince’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for young people, and our partnership with them goes right back to 1976 when it was first established. We share their belief that everyone should have the opportunity to succeed, which is why we’re committed to supporting them through a number of initiatives. Throughout our partnership, we’ve held fundraising activities like our Cycling Challenge, contributed to their Enterprise programme and hold regular CV and interview workshops.
Ben Kinsella is a Candidate Assessor based in our Manchester hub. After signing up to our Employee Volunteering programme, he began looking for a volunteering opportunity that he could take part in, and decided on facilitating a workshop for The Prince’s Trust.
“I think it’s so important to give back to your local community. I’ve lived in Manchester my whole life, so when I saw there was an opportunity to help young refugees and asylum seekers in my own community, I was really keen to get involved.
“There were a number of workshops listed, but after thinking about my own skill set and development areas, I decided on facilitating a Presentation Skills workshop. It would be held over the course of a day by 2-3 volunteers, as part of a personal development programme set up by The Prince’s Trust. The programme lasts for twelve weeks, and supports young people to develop the necessary skills for future employment.”
With the green light given by his manager, Ben started to prepare for his workshop. “Although the Trust provides all the materials that you’ll need, it’s completely up to you how you plan and deliver the workshop,” he explains. “The people attending this workshop would be asylum seekers and refugees in the area who were quite young – about 17 to 19 years old – and we were told they spoke limited English. Because of that, it was really important to factor in extra time for each activity to make sure they got the most out of the session.”
Preparing for the future
The aim of the workshop would be to help each of the students structure a verbal presentation which they’d be delivering to their friends and family at the end of the programme. “Presentation skills are key in any interview, whether it’s for a job, college or university,” says Ben. “At the end of the programme, these students will be looking to apply for college or enter employment, so it’s important that they have the skills and confidence to do that. Three out of four people who complete this programme go on to join work or college courses within three months, so it just goes to show how important these workshops are.”
For the first exercise, Ben put together a mock presentation which outlined the structure they needed to follow; a positive introduction, a series of main points presented in a logical sequence, followed by a clear summary. They then looked at good and bad examples of a presentation, and discussed the reasons behind them.
Once they were comfortable with how to structure a presentation, Ben turned their attention to the task at hand. “The presentation they’d be doing at the end of the programme would focus on their journey with The Prince’s Trust; how they felt at the start of the programme compared to now, the skills they’d learnt and what they wanted to do next,” explains Ben. “We had an open conversation about it, and their answers were really touching; most people said they’d felt anxious, lonely and isolated before joining the programme, but now they were more confident, making friends and happy to be building a future.”
The group then used their answers to put together a presentation, which they’d be presenting back to each other and Ben at the end of the session. “Although I spent time with everyone individually to offer support and tips, I wanted them to be able to put the presentation together on their own. Some of them were really nervous about standing up in front of their peers to deliver the presentation, so I got them to practice one-on-one with each other. The more they practiced, the more you could see their confidence growing.”
Finally, it was presentation time. The other volunteers and their groups came together and one by one, each of the students stood up to deliver the presentation. “I can’t begin to explain how proud I felt each time someone from my group got up and delivered their presentation!” Ben laughs. “To see how much their confidence had improved was incredible. There was one guy, who was so shy and had said no more than a few words throughout the day, who stood up and delivered one of the best presentations out of the whole group. That was the most rewarding part of the day for me. The feeling of knowing you’ve truly helped someone… you can’t beat it.”
A life changing opportunity
We’re proud that the relationship we have with The Prince’s Trust is changing young lives on a daily basis. Thanks to The Prince’s Trust, and people like Ben, more young people from difficult or disadvantaged social backgrounds are securing jobs. By developing their skills and boosting their confidence and motivation, along with giving them the practical and financial support they need to stabilise their lives, a new generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders is being formed.