The Power of Vocational Training: A Case Study Prince’s Trust Team Programme

Monday 13th November 2017

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to join the Prince’s Trust Team Programme; it scared me. I hated the idea of so many new experiences that I couldn’t control. The first week was terrifying, there were lots of new people that I never saw myself talking to. We had to take part in team building activities and after our residential trip we formed friendships and trust, which made Team a lot more comfortable and the rest of the experience continued to be amazing.

“The Team programme was something I never thought I could do, but I loved every second and made great friends. It isn’t just about getting a qualification and work - it’s about forming trust and getting the confidence to do things that may scare you.

“After Team I had a job, and I returned to sixth form. Anyone who knows me knows I’d never abseil, never do a leap of faith; never dance in the streets in a dragon onesie to raise money for charity. But I did and I’d do it all again. Team was amazing.”

Lily Musgrove, 17, Margate

The Prince’s Trust Team Programme is a scheme designed to help unemployed and vulnerable young people in Kent gain skills and find work, apprenticeships or return to education. Over the first few weeks of the course, Lily and her team mates learned problem-solving and team-building techniques that are vital for gaining employment. Over a six-week period the team then put the skills they had learned into practice by volunteering on a community project, before undertaking a two-week work placement.

Lily and her team were the 100th group to undertake the Team Programme. As part of the programme, the 12 young people aged 16 to 24 spent a collective 290 hours to renovate community arts project Arts in Ramsgate.

Having consulted with Arts in Ramsgate over the type of gardening work and renovation required, the team were on site for two weeks, during which time they were coached to take ownership of the project and allocating roles and responsibilities based on their own interests, strengths and weaknesses. The team would devise a daily schedule each morning and allocate tasks to every team member.

As part of the programme, the young people selected a number of skills they wanted to develop, and the tasks allocated to each individual selected were linked to those identified skills. Those looking to build confidence or leadership skills were required to take charge of the team for at least one morning or afternoon each week; while those focusing on team working had to participate in group tasks.

The bulk of the work the team undertook was outdoors, clearing the heavily overgrown garden space, removing waste and creating flower beds. Inside the centre, the team painted walls and hung art displays.

For many of the young people involved, this was the first time they had successfully worked in a team and completed a project. They developed team-working skills, learned to manage their emotions when conflicts arose, and learned resilience when working through poor weather conditions.

In addition, the young people individually completed a two-week work placement in their field of interest. They were guided to create an up-to-date CV, benefitted from interview skills workshops, and were provided with information and advice on completing job applications; all of which was designed to prepare them to find employment or return to education. Having successfully completed the programme, the participants also gained a nationally recognised qualification in Employability, Teamwork and Community Skills.

Many of the young people from the 100th programme have progressed into work or education: one reopened his landscape gardening business; four (Lily included) have progressed into full-time college or sixth form courses; and another four have found employment following the course. The remaining team members are completing further training courses.