A YOUNG DARWEN man has become a heartening success story for the Prince's Trust charity as the organisation celebrates an historic milestone.

The charity, which focuses on helping young people into employment, education and training has announced this month that it has enriched the lives on one million young people since its foundation in 1976.

24-year-old Darrener Alex Young, who was made redundant during the coronavirus pandemic, is in many ways an archetypal example of the kind of ways the charity has come to the aid of young people in need.

Alex said: “I was working in a factory at the start of the pandemic and was made redundant which was unfortunate because I hadn’t been there long.

“I was put on furlough leave originally which I couldn’t stand either, I hate not having a routine.

“My friends and family were still working when I was on furlough and then made redundant which made it even worse, because I was alone in not doing anything productive.

“It was really frustrating.”

Fortunately for Alex, he then found his way to The Prince’s Trust’s Get Into Hospital Services programme, a four-week work placement which began on August 3 and allowed him to attend a placement at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital.

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Alex said: “I’ve always wanted to work in the NHS, but I’ve never found the right path to get into it.

“I think I don’t have some of the qualifications for it.”

“When I heard about the get into hospital services course, I couldn’t believe it.

I was quite shocked to find such an amazing programme, as I’ve always found it a challenge to get into the NHS.

“I think it’s an amazing programme, and everyone I’ve spoken to so far has been incredible, I feel very lucky.

“In a way, being made redundant has helped me find my path. There’s so many interesting jobs in the health sector beyond being a doctor on logistical side of things, for example being a porter, that I want to do.”

Since signing up for the programme, Alex has now started a job at the hospital as a logistics services assistant.

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Speaking on what advice he would give to fellow young people in difficult situations, he said: “I know lots of people who have lost their jobs.

“There are opportunities out there for young people, you just have to find out what you want to do.”

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The trust's million milestone comes for at a time when the deepening jobs crisis is hitting young people the hardest.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, young people experienced the biggest fall in employment in the three months to July, making stories like Alex's all the more heartening.

Suzanne Lang, who co-coordingated Alex’s course for the hospital trust was full of praise for Alex’s efforts.

She said: "At East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust we are proud to have offered employment to over 50 young members of our community through the get into hospitals programme.

“Despite the challenges of Covid-19 we are determined to continue enhancing our workforce with the help of these young people.

“Alex is a shining example of the talented young people and this is just the start of a long and rewarding career at ELHT for him.”