One of the most important aspects of peoples' lives I have been concerned with for very nearly 40 years is the encouragement and empowering of young people.
I have always been fascinated by the meaning of the word "educate." It does not mean to teach or train. It comes from the Latin "educere" and it means "to lead or draw out." This is an important principle and one that could be better acknowledged than it is, not least because, in my view, it is the key that unlocks so much potential. We all have immense capacity for imagination and innovation and it is this that I have sought to tap.
I must say, I have struggled at times to find as many ways as possible to help those young people who do not have the best start in life to overcome the barriers they face and to mine that fathomless human capacity for innovation. Many young people lack confidence. They often suffer low self-esteem and I find that these are the biggest blocks of all. That is why so much of my work in this area has been dedicated to giving young people, especially those excluded by their circumstances from the mainstream, a strong sense of self-worth and a confidence in their ability so that they, rather than others, can put their lives on track. It is my belief that a sense of self-worth and dignity form the bedrock of a cohesive, prosperous and supportive society. That is why I believe everyone should have the chance to contribute to the common good through their own endeavour.
Perhaps one of the better known initiatives in this field has been my Prince's Trust, of which I am immensely proud. Through the efforts of a wonderful team of people at my Trust we have now enabled over 700,000 young people to find their way in life or to start their own businesses, many of which are now, themselves, employing many young people.
This film explores the work of the Trust, with examples from training programmes that are up and running at Dumfries House, in Ayrshire, along with my other charities that are working with young people on educational projects. It explains the work of my Foundation for Children and the Arts, which gives children experience of a wide range of arts activities, not just once, but on long term programmes so that they forge a firm bond with the arts organisations they are introduced to.
It also explores why I felt the need to establish my School of Traditional Arts which teaches and preserves those crafts and skills of the world's sacred traditions that I felt were in grave danger of being forgotten and lost. So, too, my Drawing School, which teaches the important arts of observing and drawing - something, I fear, which has been neglected in our education system. And let us not forget those who are doing all of the educating - the teachers!
This film also explores the work of my Teaching Institute which I set up to re-inspire in teachers a love of their subjects, simply to remind them why they first got into teaching. As you will see, my Prince's Teaching Institute runs a range of programmes for teachers, both in and out of school.
For further information:
The Prince's Teaching Institute - princes-ti.org.uk
The Prince's School of Traditional Arts - psta.org.uk
The Prince's Foundation For Children & The Arts - childrenandarts.org.uk
The Prince's Drawing School - princesdrawingschool.org
The Prince's Trust - princes-trust.org.uk