ON THE GROUND: The Prince's Trust

Scheme Personal development programmes for young adults who are unemployed, under-skilled, within or leaving the criminal justice system, leaving care, disabled, single parents or facing discrimination

Funding £3.5 million over five years supported by the Football Foundation, a charity formed by 45 Premiership and Football League clubs

Objectives To provide socially excluded young people with life skills to help them into jobs and education

Advice on nutrition from Manchester United Football Club is not something you're liable to get on the average Employment Service scheme.

But the Prince's Trust's 12-week courses for socially excluded young people, supported by the Football Foundation, aim to do more than teach someone how to turn on a computer.

"This unique partnership is an extremely successful way for us to use the power of football to reach young people and help them develop the vocational and life skills they need to help them through life and into work,

says the charity's head of football initiative Marcus Ward.

So far, around 4,000 people have completed the course and the Prince's Trust aims to reach at least another 8,000. Three-quarters of participants have gone on to further education, training or employment.

Each team consists of 10 to 15 young people aged 16 to 25 with one to three volunteers seconded from large employers such as the Inland Revenue.

Around 95 per cent of these volunteers report an increase in the vocational skills of the young people at the end of the scheme.

The course consists of one week of outdoor activities aimed at improving leadership, communication and motivation. Participants then spend three weeks fundraising for a local community project. Clubs in the scheme provide merchandise to sell to raise funds.

The next two weeks are spent on work placement at the clubs. "The placements involve working in administration or in the club shop to see the effort going on behind the scenes and how the club works as a business,

says the Prince's Trust's head of communications Katya Borowski.

Clubs provide rooms for weekly team meetings as well as lending minibuses. They also give motivational talks, which may be given by their players. Footballers often award participants with their certificates at a the end of the course.

High profile participants in the scheme include Leeds stars Rio Ferdinand and Danny Mills, but Borowski says the Prince's Trust is looking for a larger commitment from Premiership players.

"We want them to adopt a team of volunteers and to maintain involvement with them, such as taking on a mentoring role,

she says.

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