Gideon, 25, from South London, was involved in crime culture growing up, which led him to be brutally attacked as a teenager. He’s now a youth worker and wants to inspire young people to share their experiences on issues that matter.
“I grew up in a deprived area. It was pretty easy to be influenced by the environment around me and I was gradually absorbed into an culture of crime. Even though I was brought up in a loving home, I was still heavily influenced by street culture. Looking back now, I am sure if I had seen a bank manager, architect or a businessman as a positive role model, things could have turned out differently.”
“Unlike some of my friends, I had a choice to leave that life. I had a family and people that cared about me. So after my GCSEs I made a conscious decision to drift away from that lifestyle. I knew if I stayed, I would end up dead or in prison. I worked hard at school, going to sixth form and getting BTECs that allowed me to enrol in a Business Management Degree.”
“However, while I was in my second year, I agreed to meet some friends locally to mediate a disagreement. I ended up being ambushed in an attack that left me with 14 stab wounds and in hospital fighting for life. I woke up after having a full body X-ray. I had sustained 14 deep stab wounds across my torso, thighs, and bottom. The deepest wound was an inch away from vital organs.”
“I had to leave university to recover. After recovering, I went back to my retail job working as a delivery driver for a supermarket. One of my customers use to chat to me about her life and one day I decided to tell her about mine. She recommended The Prince’s Trust.”
“I applied for an online mentor through and was allocated someone who I think was the perfect mentor. She gave me so much invaluable guidance and made me see the power and importance of sharing my real story to inspire others. It never occurred to me that my story was one to share with others. Where I’m from it wasn’t that unusual to have been a victim of violence. But I began to understand the power of sharing my story with a view to influence change in a positive way.”
“Now I’m a youth worker I am able to be that role model for young people, they share with me things they might not share with parents and teachers and that’s a powerful thing.”
“I truly believe in the power of mentors and positive role models to show young people their value, and that there is so much out there for them.”
“It’s because of what has been offered to me by PTI, The Bodossaki Foundation and Knowl Social Enterprise that I’ve been able to achieve what I have.” – Eirini Antonopolou
Eirini, 26, from Athens graduated degree in Finance and Regional Development in Athens While at university, Eirini worked a 10-hour day at a restaurant. She had to work to support her younger brother’s education and her parents following her dad’s heart-attack. She worked illegally, receiving cash in hand, like many young people in Greece who are still suffering the consequences of the financial crisis.
After she graduated, Eirini sent out hundreds of CV’s to potential employers focusing on finance-related jobs, but she was invited to only three interviews. She wasn’t successful in any. “I gave up after that and started looking for a job in sales”. Like many young Greeks, she was forced to look for a job where she could find it, even though her qualifications lay elsewhere.
Exhausted from so many days finishing in the early hours, and from trying to keep up with her university work, Eirini joined the Get Into program. Following the program, Eirini was offered a job at Vodafone and six months down the line she tells us that she has learned so much about herself and plans to have a long-term career with the company. She has even been offered a promotion after 6 months from Sales Advisor to Internet Specialist.
Eirini also has her own goals and she is determined to achieve them. “Now I am earning a great salary at Vodafone, I can help my family, buy the things I want and also save. In a few years, I want to study a Masters or MBA. I don’t want to leave Vodafone – in fact, I want to progress and this is why I want to study further. I am out to prove that I’m worthy of the position and want to achieve so much more. Ultimately, I’d like to become a trainer so that I can show people like me that when you have determination, you can make anything happen”.
After 21 years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces, Kristin suffered a concussion and was medically released. She then became very introverted and isolated; and was struggling to find employment. With support from Prince’s Trust Canada, Kristin has now started her own successful business (Sweetlife Flora) through PTC’s “Operation Entrepreneur” program for military veterans.
Kristin took part in an introductory workshop, a “boot camp” one-week training session and then signed up for the “Operation Entrepreneur” mentoring program. Kristin’s mentor, Richard, helped her with financial forecasting and business planning.
With the support from PT Canada, Kristin has gone from facing a very uncertain future to an optimistic one full of opportunity. Kristin says: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Prince’s Trust Canada. That one-day introductory workshop kickstarted a tsunami.”
“Coming from the place I was in and the place I am now, this is only the beginning.”
Akeme grew up in Fairy Valley in the south of Barbados. His mum and dad both work in farming, his mum with horticulture and his dad with animals such as horses, sheep and goats. When Akeme got to secondary school age he started hanging out with a new group of friends and he began to dislike school. Instead of going to school and focusing on his exams, Akeme started to skip class and meet up with his friends. The group would spend their time hanging out with gangs on the island.
In 2016 a friend of his heard about the launch of Prince’s Trust International’s TEAM program in Barbados and recommended it to Akeme. He saw it as an opportunity get involved in something new on the island. Mr Jemmot and the other TEAM leaders gave him the confidence to believe in himself. He finally started to see that he had potential. After completing the TEAM program, Akeme started to look for better opportunities for himself. Following his work placement, Akeme was offered a full-time job at the Blue Horizon hotel, and although it wasn’t his dream career, he saw this as an opportunity to learn. Working at Blue Horizon has taught him to be vigilant and hardworking.
Akeme dreamed of being an entrepreneur, and as well as working at a restaurant in Oistins, he has set up his own hot sauce and catering company “Paradise Eats”. Akeme also hopes to save up enough money to travel to Europe with a friend. In the future Akeme dreams of owning his own food truck in Barbados and continues to save money and work hard towards reaching this goal.
In March 2020 Akeme travelled to London to accept the Prince’s Trust Global Award at The Palladium Theatre from HRH The Prince of Wales, as well as attending a dinner at Buckingham Palace. Akeme’s story was featured globally on CNN International where he was recorded at home in Barbados with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley and the British High Commissioner to Barbados, Janet Douglas.
Rachel, 24, from Glasgow, fell pregnant whilst she was at school. She was intent on doing well so she could provide for her son, but after she left college and couldn’t find work, money ran low and she would often miss her own meals so that her son didn’t go without.
“Most girls at my age were out with their friends and weren’t thinking about having babies, but I was a single mum trying to get through school and college whilst holding down a part time job and caring for my son. I thought I’d easily get a hairdressing job after studying it at college, but there was nothing going and I was forced to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance. Sometimes money was so tight I couldn’t afford the electricity to warm the house and often lived off one meal a day so that my son could have three.”
“My JobCentre Plus work coach suggested I enrol on Get into Healthcare, a Prince’s Trust program run in partnership with the NHS, that gives unemployed young people the skills they need to secure work in the sector. All I had was my hairdressing skills so I didn’t think I stood a chance of being selected, but I was and I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard!”
“Get into Healthcare lasted six weeks, and in the final week I was interviewed and secured a job with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Get into Healthcare taught me a wealth of new skills, but it also taught me that no matter how bad your life is, it can get better with the correct support. That’s what The Prince’s Trust gave to me; I went from nowhere to healthcare in just six weeks!”
“Life is pretty fantastic right now; I work as a Healthcare Assistant at the Royal Hospital for Children and I’m on the path to working out next steps to applying to do a degree in Mental Health Nursing.”
“Till the time I stepped into the Centre, I had absolutely no idea about the retail sector or the job opportunities there.”
Amit Mane, 21, came to Mumbai with a small bag of clothes and certificate confirming that he had cleared 12th standard from a junior college in Sangli. Amit was in desperate need of a job after his father, the only breadwinner in the family, had an accident when Amit was still in school. His father was left paralysed from the waist down and Amit became the breadwinner and provider for his family of 5. To make money, Amit worked in the fields each morning, earning 4 GBP a day, before cycling 14km to college in the afternoons.
Pushed by poverty and lack of job opportunities in his area, Amit moved to Mumbai, a place he found ‘frighteningly busy’. He started living with his cousin and her family in the city’s suburbs. Amit didn’t want to move to Mumbai at first, because he was scared of the unknown challenges that lay beyond his village. But the thought of his parent’s medical expenses, and younger brother’s education drove him to re-examine his hesitation to move to Mumbai.
While looking for a job, Amit’s relative told him about Magic Bus and Prince’s Trust International’s Get Into program, which offered quality training and job placements. “Till the time I stepped into the Centre, I had absolutely no idea about the retail sector or the job opportunities there,” he admits. The program surprised him, he was thrilled to find the possibility of a placement opportunity with the largest 24-hours medical store, Wellness Forever. “It was nothing like school or junior college where you learn but there is no guarantee which of the lessons would help you find a good job. Here there was an opportunity waiting for us. And the training would prepare us for the same,” explains Amit.
Amit excelled at the training, but hit some roadblocks when it came to Spoken English. Further lessons on communication and personal development helped him in interviews, even though he admits he was scared on the taster day which is the first interaction program participants have with prospective employers. “I definitely thought they would reject me and I have to go back to Sangli empty-handed,” he admits. Instead they gave him feedback on how to improve on areas he needed to improve. From that on, Amit who is now a Junior Customer Associate at Wellness’ Forever’s outlet in Bandra, has started dreaming. “My only wish is to retire my father who is now looking to go back to work to feed the family,” he says. Kumar Gaurav, Manager – HR of Amit’s company says, “Amit has shown excellent performance in customer services. His ability to handle challenging issues and the quality of work is admirable.”
While Amit admits that his earnings, GBP 138 a month, are significantly higher than what he made by working in the fields, he is driven to do better and earn more. “I want to be patient and not leave my job soon. I see I can grow in this company and I want to give it my best shot,” he reaffirms.
“I have the most positive view of the PTI Enterprise Program in Greece, the people of the Program were there for me whenever I asked for their support. I am not sure how things would have turned our wihtout PTI, Corallia and AFI. I probably would also have fled Greece sooner or later. But now I know, failure didn’t stop me once and it won’t stop me in the future.”
Vasilis 24, from Athens, studied Cultural Technology and Communications at the University of Aegean in the island of Lesvos: “While at university, I was working in a Photography Store, doing mostly editing work. This allowed me to be financially independent during my studies, but also gave me the opportunity to develop further my creative skills. At the end of my studies, my friends and I formed an event management team, where we used our love for music, art but also our managing capacities.
Things were going pretty well; we had managed to organise 2 major music festivals in Greece. But then we had some major failures, things were looking grim and my friends decided to move abroad for a better future”. In crisis-stricken Greece, more than 500,000 people have fled the country to be able to support themselves financially, a toll especially frequent for the younger generation.
Following this failure, Vasilis didn’t give up. He had a lot of ideas for new ventures, but he didn’t know how to organise his thoughts and set priorities. “After our first major failure I realised that I could use some guidance in my next steps, our team was very eager but unexperienced, we learned a lot through our first events but we still had a lot to learn! So I did some research online. When I found the Prince’s Trust International Enterprise Program in Greece, I immediately thought this is what I needed! I applied for the program and it was not long until they called me for a first Information Session. I attended the 4-day Explore Enterprise Course that helped me organise all my plans and ideas.”
8 months after the Explore Enterprise Course and his mentor allocation, Vasilis managed to start hi own streetwear brand. A key pillar of Vasilis’ business concept is the creation of the first Greek streetwear brand, with 100% organic products made from hemp fiber. Vassilis has already sold his first 50 orders of T-Shirt, while he has launched his own e-shop.
“I have the most positive view of the PTI Enterprise Program in Greece, the people of the Program were there for me whenever I asked for their support. I am not sure how things would have turned our wihtout PTI, Corallia and AFI. I probably would also have fled Greece sooner or later. But now I know, failure didn’t stop me once and it won’t stop me in the future”.
Without any work experience or positive role models, Tyrell felt hopeless and discouraged. He wanted to provide for his family but had no job prospects and lacked confidence. He signed up for the Get Into Warehousing program, run in collaboration with Winnipeg Harvest and YES Manitoba. Since then, Tyrell’s life has changed.
“Growing up with my grandmother, I was reclusive and didn’t know much about how to get out into the real world and find my place. We were struggling with bills. I was under a lot of stress and needed to find employment as soon as possible.
I went to YES Manitoba for help and they told me about Get Into Warehousing. During the program, I was surrounded by positive role models who believed in me and inspired me to go out and find a career. “Get Into” gave me the work experience that I needed. Afterwards, I got hired by Parian Logistics and now work there full- time!
My family is so happy for me. It feels good to know that I have money coming in and that I can help with groceries and bills and pay rent. I feel very happy about that.”
The Trust was founded on the vision that every young person should have the chance to succeed – a vision that remains unchanged today.
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