Prince's �5m boost for jobseekers

05-11-2004

The Prince of Wales has launched a �5m scheme to help poorly qualified school leavers find work.

Four pilot projects will be run by the Prince's Trust from next year in some of the country's most deprived areas.

Called Enterprise Works, the venture will see disadvantaged youngsters offered work placements and mentoring.

The announcement comes as the trust celebrates 21 years of its Business Programme, which has helped 60,000 young people set up their own firms.

Enterprise Works will help 16 to 18-year-olds in areas of high unemployment find work or establish their own businesses.

The first pilot starts in London early next year, with details of the other three announced after that.

'Vital training'

Funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), the scheme could be rolled out nationally if trials are successful.

Speaking at the launch of the programme on Thursday at RBS's City headquarters, Prince Charles said: "With more than one million 16 to 24-year-olds in the UK currently not in education, employment or training it is vital we try new ways of reaching them.

"Today's announcement of a further �5m from the RBS will enable us to look at how we can expand our mentoring system and make enterprise work in this country's most deprived areas."

Commenting on the Prince's Trust Business Programme, he said the scheme was "making a real contribution to the British economy".

"They (the participants) have had to overcome some extraordinary hurdles to achieve success.

"It proves what can be accomplished if we give young people the right support at the right time."

Muslim community

The trust is also working to help young entrepreneurs within the Muslim community.

Prince Charles added: "I fear that despite the potential, there is a generation of young people in the Muslim community at risk of frustration, unemployment and indeed alienation.

"I do happen to believe that our work to engage this group is more important now than ever."

Chancellor Gordon Brown also attended celebrations to mark the launch of the business programme.

He revealed that he would be meeting the US Treasury Secretary Jon Snow on 16 November to discuss developing a new transatlantic enterprise partnership.

'Business talents'

Mr Brown said: "Even if young people used to think of enterprise as for someone else, more young people from all backgrounds, rich and poor, rural and urban, are now considering realising their talents in commerce and business."

The event was also attended by 21 of the programme's most successful businessmen and women.

James Somerville, from Huddersfield, was just 20 when he approached the Trust with a business plan.

His graphic design company ATTIK now has a turnover of �10m a year and offices in New York.

Mr Somerville said: "The Prince's Trust was a turning point. Without it, I do not think it would have happened."

BBC News

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