Young people complete Prince's Trust TEAM Programme at Inverness College UHI

YOUNG people on The Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme at Inverness College UHI have demonstrated their new-found confidence and ambition taking part in a presentation event to celebrate successful completion of the 12-week personal development programme.

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Mark Cymbalist, Keiran Buchannan, Liam Clunas, Josh Metcalfe and Andrew Stewart.

Students Mark Cymbalist, Keiran Buchannan, Liam Clunas, Josh Metcalfe and Andrew Stewart were presented with their certificates at the celebratory event at Inverness College UHI on Wednesday, which was attended by supporters who have helped them along the way, including local employers.

The Team Programme aims to tackle youth unemployment by providing new skills and confidence to young people not in education, employment or training.

It is the first time the TEAM programme has been delivered in the Highlands.

On completion of the programme the students said it had made them believe in themselves and what they could achieve as well as providing positive direction for the future. Each has either secured employment, found work experience or enrolled on a course at Inverness College UHI.

Josh (20) found out about The Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme while attending the Job Centre. He’s just completed the programme and will start the one year NC Rural Skills course at the Scottish School of Forestry in September.

“The course was absolutely brilliant,” he said. “Looking back now, I wish I had tried harder at school, being on the course made me realise that. I’m really excited to be starting my new course. If anyone asked me if they should do The Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme, I would say ‘jump in with both feet!’ It’s brilliant and look where I am now.”

Keiran (16) left school in S4. “To be honest, I couldn’t wait to leave school.  I found out about The Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme through my Day 1 mentor. Initially, I wasn’t sure, but I was persuaded and I’m glad I did. We did loads of different things and it was good getting to know the other lads. I did my work placement with local company Arc n Saw and I’ve ended up getting a full-time job with them. . I’m really chuffed because I’m following in my dad and grandad’s footsteps as they are both joiners. If anyone asked me about going on the course I would say don’t hesitate, look what it can do for you - it can put your life straight.” 

The Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme was launched by Inverness College UHI in May. Students experienced a week-long team-building residential at Loch Tay and took part in a two-week work placement with local employers’ Arc n Saw, Makar, New Start Highland and the British Heart Foundation. The programme also included employment skills and support with writing a CV and mock interviews.

As part of their community project, the students worked with suicide prevention charity Mikeysline to transform the entrance alleyway to its drop-in centre The Hive on Academy Street with a bright, colourful mural. They appealed to local companies for donations and fundraised for the project by holding a raffle and bake sale at Inverness College UHI.

They also worked with charity Leonard Cheshire to run a fun day at Cheshire House, a home providing a range of services for young adults with physical disabilities in Inverness. The students fundraised at Tesco in advance to pay for food and games for the residents of Cheshire House, which included a football fun session with Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club. A cheque for £153 was also presented to Leonard Cheshire to help towards the residents’ social fund.

Donna Dingwall, TEAM programme leader, said: “The Team Programme is all about supporting young people to help them discover what they are capable of and plan their next steps. I am so proud of what they have achieved. They have each grown in confidence, discovered things they didn’t know about themselves and determined to move onto positive destinations, with each pursuing either paid employment, further work experience or a course at Inverness College UHI. It has been absolute pleasure working with the students, our volunteers and everyone who has supported their journey along the way. It has truly changed their lives for the better and I can’t wait to see where these fantastic young men go from here. They are quite exceptional.”

Students received The Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme certificate and an SQA accredited personal development and employability qualification.