The Princes Trust gave high flyer a head start

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A HIGH-FLYING solicitor from Wigan who was given a helping hand by a leading youth charity has spoken of its important work to mark a significant milestone.

Having not done himself justice in his GCSEs, Paul Rogers turned to the Prince’s Trust in 1994 after drifting between jobs as a young adult.

The Trust’s team programme celebrates its 25th anniversary this summer and Paul was one of 187,000 young people to have taken advantage of their support.

As a 14-year-old growing up in the borough, Paul became ill and had to spend seven months away from school.

He said: “Because of my illness I knew I could no longer join the RAF so I didn’t know where to go, I had no real direction. That’s when I saw the leaflet about the (Prince’s Trust) Team programme and I decided to give it a go.”

After completing a 12-week course he was ready to take another tilt at the world of work and, at 23, he became the first person in his family to go to university and graduated with a law degree.

He said: “We all wrote messages to each other at the end of the course, I still have mine, and one of the team Leaders had written ‘When you find your niche, you will fly high’ – she was right.”

Paul now works for a FTSE 250 company and was approached to be on the Board of Directors at his local branch of Groundwork UK, and when he saw that they delivered The Prince’s Trust Team programme in the area, he was keen to get involved.

He said: “I don’t think I’d have gone to university if it wasn’t for The Trust. That sense of being able to change your own life but also learning to trust others and work as a team are things that have

always stayed with me from that course. I am still grateful for those lessons today.”