Southgate backs ‘invaluable’ Prince’s Trust scheme for youngsters

England football manager Gareth Southgate believes that having “the right advice and guidance at the right time” could potentially be a game changer for young people in the modern world.

He joined forces with The Prince’s Trust charity for the central London launch of Future Leaders, a two-day programme which seeks to bolster young people’s skills in leadership and teamwork.

In backing the scheme which aims to tap into ways to build confidence, resilience and self-awareness, Southgate said: “These sessions are always invaluable.”

He added: “These young people are the same ages as the players I work with, so I understand what they are going through and the difficulties they have.”

The manager said it is not just about finding work but also about discovering yourself and growing up.

Southgate said: “It is a complicated journey for all of us. We all have to go through it…”

He hopes the people who sign up for the course will be helped “to develop their skills and have better opportunities moving forward”.

Future Leaders is open to 18 to 30-year-olds who are not in education, training or employment or who are underemployed.

The programme also aims to give the young adults some of the key tools they may need to try to tackle the worlds of work, education and training.

Practical help may also be given with things such as interviewing techniques and creating a CV.

Southgate, who is a Prince’s Trust goodwill ambassador, talked to about 25 people on the scheme on a range of topics, including how to get the best out of yourself, what is needed to be a good leader and also on concentrating on the positives rather than the negatives in life.

England manager Gareth Southgate during a programme session for the Prince’s Trust Future Leaders campaign launch
England manager Gareth Southgate during a programme session for the Prince’s Trust Future Leaders campaign launch

He said: “I’m very fortunate in my position to have witnessed first-hand the benefits an individual can reap from the right advice and guidance at the right time. That’s why The Prince’s Trust exists, to offer that vital support to young people across the UK, and I feel proud to play a small part in helping them achieve that.”

Asperger’s sufferer Judith Turkson-Baidoo, 24, who was one of more than 300 young people who took part in the pilot programme in London, said it has helped her to build confidence and self-belief.

Ms Turkson-Baidoo, who struggled to find work after graduating in 2017 and kept quiet about her Asperger’s for fear that it would block her job chances, said: “It helped me find out more about myself and I am grateful that I attended the programme. I got so much from it.”

She signed up after spotting an advert for the scheme on Facebook and has now managed to get a full-time job in the inspiring governance team at the Education and Employers charity.

Ms Turkson-Baidoo is now more open about her condition and receives support from her manager, according to The Prince’s Trust.

There are plans to trial and roll out Future Leaders in Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Burnley.

Prince’s Trust deputy chief executive Ian Jeffers said: “Here at The Prince’s Trust we’re all about equipping young people with the confidence and skills to live, learn and earn.

“Future Leaders focuses on personal development and finding confidence and leadership from within, so young people who take part can feel fully ready to make that next step.”

Future Leaders is developed with Capgemini and Lea_p Leadership and delivered in partnership with Lea_p and Flying Start XP.