Television and radio presenter Zoe Ball changed her plans at short notice to see a presentation by youngsters taking part in a Prince’s Trust course in Brighton.
She was booked to spend an hour meeting the dozen youngsters from City College Brighton and Hove in her capacity as a Prince’s Trust “ambassador”.
They had spent 12 weeks on a personal development course designed to help unemployed youngsters gain the skills and confidence to move into work or training.
The programme includes work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.
After the event at the Grand hotel, the Hove-based BBC Radio 2 disc jockey said: “Talking to members of the team individually I found that they all come from very different walks of life and they’ve all encountered their own challenges and some of them have had tough upbringings.
“It was great to see the confidence that they’ve gained and how the programme helped them learn how to work as a team.
“It’s given them a self-belief that they might not have been able to get at home or school and they’ve all got a lot of hope about their futures.
“I really want to see what happens to them next and how they fulfil their potential.
“They’re all really bright, brilliant kids and they deserve some success and happiness.
“Projects like this can give young people hope, enthusiasm and self-belief and they should be greatly encouraged.”
Since completing the programme, all 12 are moving back into education, some of them on courses starting at City College in September.
Charlotte Cussins, Prince’s Trust deputy team leader at City College, said: “We were all so impressed with how warm and friendly Zoe was.
“When it came to all the personal stories of how the course has transformed individual team members, she took a genuine interest in what each of them had to say on a one-to-one level and it was a real thrill for them all to meet her.
“Zoe was actually only scheduled to come in for an hour in the afternoon to meet the team but when they invited her to a presentation event in the evening she changed her plans especially to be there, which was really kind and supportive of her.
“Her ongoing support means a lot to everyone involved in the Prince’s Trust.”
One of the 12 young people on the course, Jess North, gained employment with a local carpenter and earned an interview to study on a Scenic Construction Course at RADA.
She said: “It’s been really good to see people’s confidence grow and it’s obvious that the programme does work.
“There were two or three individuals who said nothing for the first couple of weeks and then suddenly there was a massive turning point and everyone’s communication skills were far better than they were in the beginning.
“Everybody’s grown through this programme and, for me personally, it’s boosted my confidence and helped me believe in my own skills and abilities again.
“I’ve now got my motivation back to drive forward and do what I want to do in life.”
The next Prince’s Trust programme starts at City College in June.
For more information on the programme email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01273 667788 ext 402.