Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Prince's Trust - Inspiring Young Lives In Transport

It's easy to get despondent. 
Only a few weeks ago, a friend remarked to me that he was glad he wasn't growing up these days - and I agreed with him. Young people face a lot of pressure in the World today, trying to make sense of it all, and the lack of jobs, or opportunities to gain experience must be a difficult dilemma to face. 
I was delighted, however, to attend an event at Centro House recently that was different to the usual transport gatherings I pop up at! 
The Prince's Trust "Get Into Transport" programme was, I confess, something I didn't know too much about, but I was very pleased that I attended. 
The scheme has been running for 3 years, and is managed by Centro, with it's partners Virgin Trains and - new for this year - National Express West Midlands. 
It was good to hear how, for the young people involved, the experience had been an overwhelmingly positive one, working, for example, on board Virgin's trains, and inside National Express West Midlands' bus garages, as well as some admin experience at Centro. Often, the people the Prince's Trust help have struggled to find employment, and it is all too apparent that lack of employment or hope after finishing school can often quickly turn to a downward spiral of hopelessness, knocking people's confidence and building on the fears of a "lost generation" of young people who are unemployed, and often unemployable. 
Seeing the 10 young people talking about their experiences was a joy. The World of public transport may not always immediately appear exciting (for me, a 5am start on the Stourbridge Shuttle is sometimes challenging!), but it is a great industry to work in, and so important to millions of people's lives every day. It was clear that their experiences had been very much positive ones - it had given them a sense of purpose, from which bigger and better things will grow. 
A few of them will go on to a longer-term placement with some of the partners to expand further their skills and progress in the world of transport
This scheme isn't going to change the World overnight, but it was so pleasing to see that the public transport industry is joining other industries in working with The Prince's Trust to offer what it can to tackle some of the real difficulties faced by our young people today. If some of them find work and a career in public transport, the partners can be very proud of their efforts. 

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