I am enormously grateful to you all for being here today and I particularly wanted to say how really pleased and proud I am that we already have so much to celebrate with my Prince’s Trust New Zealand.
And if I may say so, I was so impressed by what we have just heard from Kyle Ratana about his experience of the Enterprise programme and I know he had a bit of pressure put on him to speak, that was the only problem, so I think he needs a very stiff drink! It was an interesting indication, what he was saying, of all the potential business ideas there are which I think the Trust could, I hope, become involved with trying to encourage.
Particularly with all of the brilliant ideas, innovative ideas, which so many young people have now. But also that will help to reconnect us with nature once again, which has been, I’m afraid, one of my particular concerns so hearing about his ideas is hugely encouraging. And he is of course joined today by his colleagues who, together, were the first group to go through the Enterprise programme.
I can’t tell you how delighted I am that their experience has been such a positive one, and I am full of admiration for their achievements and their innovative business ideas.
Now, the Enterprise programme that we are running in New Zealand, builds on the experiences that we’ve had in the United Kingdom, where over the past four decades, we have helped nearly 90,000 young people start up in business. And I can’t tell you what a reward and encouragement it gives me to see how these young people having made that investment in them all those years ago, have succeeded.
Some of them, quite a lot more than you might imagine, have made incredibly successful businesses and have been selling their business for something like £70 million or £30 million. And for me, as you can imagine, the wonderful thing is having hoped to create a virtuous circle at the beginning of this process, all those years ago, they are actually coming back to provide funds for other young people to start off the programmes we are running.
We have quite a big programme now with ex offenders from the prisons and quite a lot of them have set up incredibly successful businesses as well. So as you can imagine, I am enormously proud of the profound difference this investment can make in a young person’s life and of course how it can actually set them on a fundamentally better course for their future.
And this is why it was so important to me that we should bring my Prince’s Trust to New Zealand – I can only apologise for it taking such an awful long time to reach here! But we’re bringing not just the Enterprise programme, and Achieve programme in schools, but other programmes too – taking the lessons we have learned over so many years and seeing if they might, in a small way, be of some use in New Zealand’s particular circumstances, and there obviously are particular circumstances that I hope we can adjust the programmes to.
And if I may so I was so encouraged to hear that young people in New Zealand wanted to use the services of my Trust. That was most encourage to say the least! And finding decent employment, and the sense of purpose and well-being it can bring, is something that so many young people want, wherever they live.
And that my Prince’s Trust New Zealand could respond to what young New Zealanders told us they needed, and the concerns they shared, fills me with hope that we can at least make some difference in transforming young lives in this country. And in so doing, I hope this will support the vital work that the Government of New Zealand is doing in this regard.
Now of course none of this would be possible, without our brilliant team, and all those kind people who help in the remarkable way they do. I particularly want to thank Andrew Williams, the Chairman of Prince’s Trust New Zealand, particularly for having pinned a large number of people he knows to the wall out there for most of the afternoon!
And Anya Satyanand, the Chief Executive, to whom I’m also enormously grateful as well as our dedicated band of trustees, many of whom I’ve met today, for all their remarkable efforts in getting my Trust off the ground here – and, I am sorry to have to tell them, for everything I am going to demand of them in the future!
Because this is just the beginning, and it is my dearest wish that Prince’s Trust New Zealand will go from strength to strength in the months and years ahead so that, together, we can make the greatest possible difference in supporting the young people of New Zealand to achieve their full potential.
So Ladies and Gentlemen, if you stand still long enough, someone from my Trust is bound to try and recruit you, so you have been warned! Thank you.