It is, if I may say so, a great pleasure to have this opportunity to have at least a moment in your company in what now is the ninth year of Invest in Futures and while I was sitting over there I happened to have noticed on the wall here all these paintings, which I presume are going to be auctioned later, including one of mine, which slightly alarmed me because, when I looked at all the others, I could see that I'm going to liven up my act rather soon - and it rather confirms my age. Something else that rather confirmed my age, the other day, was in Somerset when I was visiting the flooded areas. I met a very small girl, her father was a remarkable farmer and I was asked if did a 'high five' and I thought "Oh help, wait a minute! Is this a basketball tactic?" Then I thought "Oh no", it can't be that. Perhaps it's an acrobatic manoeuvre I missed when I was doing my flying training in the R.A.F. forty years ago? Then from the recesses of my geriatric mind I very vaguely thought: a form of social greeting! So fortunately I rescued the situation after a moment's hesitation! So, as you can see, ladies and gentlemen I become increasingly confused in my old age, because I went to a dinner two weeks ago at the Royal Courts of Justice, which I thought was "Invest in Futures". In fact it was another Prince's Trust group all the Leadership Groups, including the Technology Leadership Group! So, after I got over my confusion, I hope I delivered the right speech. You may end up with a technology speech this evening!
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I just wanted to say that I'm so full of admiration for Jay Kamiraz, who has just performed. I met him on one or two occasions particularly when he was carrying the Olympic Torch through Tottenham. I do think he's remarkable in what he's overcome. He told me his story. The way he performs and sings with his gospel choir is quite remarkable. There are so many young people like him whose lives have been transformed after disasters of one kind or another, which as you can imagine makes me enormously proud. But this evening is an opportunity to thank so many people for what they do to enable us to help all these young people. I particularly want to thank Joanna Lumley who is a fantastic Ambassador - in her "ambassa-dress"! Also to Rob Brydon who is incredibly kind and generously come along this evening. Sadly I won't be here later to hear his jokes.
I am hugely grateful to Bryan Ferry, who will be performing later. Also to other Ambassadors for my Trust like Jerry Hall, Philip Schofield, Kelly Hoppen and Luke Evans. All of them have been amazing in the length of time they've been Ambassadors. Philip Schofield has been an Ambassador for twenty-two years, I think. It makes a fantastic difference to have kind people like that who can make much more of a difference than I can. But above all else, Ladies and gentlemen, I am particularly grateful to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch for their support for Invest in Futures for the fourth year, which is remarkable in terms of loyalty and devotion. So again an enormous thank you to them.
Invest in Futures has now raised more than £15million for my Trust in the last nine years and it wouldn’t have happened without not only Michael Marks, the Chairman of the Committee, but also the Invest in Futures Committee that have helped to make sure somehow it continues year after year. Sadly Michael is leaving after nine years, I'm not surprised because it's totally and utterly exhausted you! But having done this for so long it is a remarkable achievement. Michael, thank you so much.
As you can imagine there are a whole host of people to thank particularly one of the young people at the Trust who is speaking later on, Naima, who is a Job Ambassador. You'll hear her story because she's brilliant at describing what she went through before she found the Trust and the fact that then her life was turned around by what we could do for her. So she's become a Job Ambassador. We have a whole lot of Job Ambassadors now, who go into the dark, difficult corners of this country trying to reach the hardest to reach people who disappear off all the radars. Their job is to encourage them to come to the Trust so that we can help them even further.
Then, ladies and gentlemen, there's another remarkable person here tonight called Duane Jackson, who is, I think, the most fantastic and classic example of what the Trust's Enterprise Business Start-up programme can do. In the last few decades we have created 81,000 businesses. Duane really does represent the "virtuous circle" I always hoped to create all those years ago by investing in these young people's futures. As many of you will know, because you invest in all sorts of things, if you take a long-term view, very often that investment comes back and the returns can be remarkable. Duane grew up in a children's home. He left school without any qualifications, he ended up for one reason or another in prison but by the end when he came out with the help of my Trust he set up a software business which he has now sold for tens of millions of pounds and, wonderfully, immediately gave £100,000 to my Trust to help other young people.
Ladies and gentlemen, I was reminded of this yesterday when I was in Tottenham, when I met Gina Moffatt, who was sent to Holloway Prison for drug offences and, on release, turned to my Trust for help in setting up her own business. Several years on, Gina now has ten full-time employees in her café-restaurant, which I visited in Tottenham. She has another one somewhere else and is about to open one in Chelsea, if she can. She has now come back as a Job Ambassador, helping other young people in her local area to find the necessary skills and then jobs. So you can imagine what an enormous encouragement that gives me to see the difference they can make, not only to themselves but to us.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I just wanted to acknowledge the wider support of the Invest in Futures initiative, including donations from individuals and from hedge funds, investment banks and associated financial services, such as R.B.S. who have been wonderfully loyal and supportive for years to my Trust, H.S.B.C., Citi, U.B.S. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I just hope you realise and understand how your generosity tonight will make an enormous difference in tackling youth unemployment for instance- we now have more than 900,000 young people struggling to find work. What my Trust is also doing is investing in skills because I think the key in all of this is enabling young people to have their latent talent and vocational skills developed. All this has been abandoned and forgotten in so many ways and yet I know from talking to the Royal Academy of Engineering, for instance, that there is a need for 69,000 Level 3 engineering apprentices every year for the next ten years and all that can be produced at the moment is 27,000 so you can imagine what a difference just in the engineering sector that could make if the act could be got together. So I've been trying to organise workshops with teachers and engineering firms in order to try and find a way through this particular issue, because there are so many people out there who think that engineering is dirty, greasy and filthy and manufacturing is dead and gone. In fact it is very far from the case. So what my Trust can help do with others is to revive and resuscitate the skills that are necessary and much needed all over the country to resuscitate our manufacturing sector and other parts of the economy.
I hope you can rest assured ladies and gentlemen that with your help - and we need to raise a £1million a week to keep The Prince's Trust show on the road in order to help some 58,000 young people every year - we have helped some 750,000 young people in the last thirty-eight years, but we can't do it without you and I hope that I have given you some indication of the extraordinary difference you could make in turning people's lives around. It is wonderful to see when you do it.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.