In a world which feels increasingly fractured and fragile, young people need to know that they can achieve success no matter what their background is. Over the last four decades The Prince's Trust has been giving young people across the UK the skills and confidence they need to turn their lives around.
Now the trust is rolling out its expertise and experience to tackle crippling levels of global youth unemployment, Last Thursday (26 November), our President, HRH The Prince of Wales, launched Prince's Trust International in Malta. This official event coincided with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the country, where global leaders pondered the big issues of the day.
Over the years, 825,000 young people in the UK have been helped by The Prince's Trust. Umesh, 19 from Peterborough, is one of them. He experienced several difficult years as a teenager, characterised by expulsion from school, gangs, crime and homelessness.
Looking for a second chance, he joined The Prince's Trust Team programme, a 12-week personal development course that helps unemployed young people gain the skills and confidence to find work. He now has a job as a leisure assistant in a hotel.
Umesh has since become a young ambassador for The Prince's Trust, keen to inspire and share his story with other young people. As he says: "There is no doubt that The Prince's Trust has changed my life forever. With that little bit of belief and help from others, it is amazing what you can achieve."
We are proud of what so many of our young people in the UK have achieved; three in four of those supported by The Prince's Trust move into work, education or training. We want to see unemployed young people around the world experience the same success.
Youth unemployment in the UK peaked at over one million during the depths of the recession. It is now falling but other countries still face shockingly high rates of joblessness. It is estimated that globally around 70million young people - more than one in 10 - are out of work. Many governments across the EU and beyond are working to alleviate this problem.
Inspired by the work of The Prince's Trust, more than 20 governments and agencies across the world have approached us for advice and support. It became more and more evident that an international organisation, modelling itself on The Prince's Trust, needed to be established. That is how Prince's Trust International - our sister organisation, which raises its own funds - was born.
In Malta, Prince's Trust International has already started working on several projects in coordination with The President's Trust, a charity set up a few months ago by the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.
In Maltese schools, young people who are struggling and who are at risk of exclusion are being helped by both Trusts. HSBC Malta has invested in this project based on Prince's Trust xl Clubs. Another project developed in Malta is an employability programme for unemployed young people run by Marks and Spencer in Valetta.
Beyond Malta, projects are due to begin in Jordan and discussions are ongoing with other Middle Eastern and Commonwealth countries. The potential is immense.
When His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales set up The Prince's Trust four decades ago, he could not have imagined just how many lives would be changed with the help of The Trust. Today, it's part of the fabric of the nation, helping 59,000 young people each year.
Umesh, along with so many others, are a living testimony of a British success story. We want to share it with the world. We certainly do not believe we have all the answers. But where we can help, we will.Suggest a correction