llege students in the UK is the Princes Trust 12 week programme which “features confidence building, team events, challenges, outdoor activities and fundraising events” (The Birmingham Post, 2006). The program intends to give students from minority communities a chance to gain practical skills that would make a real difference to their community. But in spite of this promise, the statistics pertaining to student enrolment into this programme paints a disappointing picture. The rest of this essay will delve deeper into the underlying causes for this situation.
Firstly, despite several flaws inherent in the 12-Week personal development programme, it has had its share of success as well. For instance, a team of young students participating in a Princes Trust 12-week programme run at Bournville College “chose to revamp the neglected memorial garden at Witton Cemetery. The memorial garden was created after the Second World War as a tribute to civilians who had lost their lives and was in desperate need of a facelift. Countless visitors have come to pay their respects since the gardens restitution, with its upkeep actively undertaken by many local residents.” (The Birmingham Post, 2006)
Talking on the occasion of the team’s success, Steve Perkins of the Prince’s Trust noted that “this team is a great example of how a diverse group of people can learn to look at things in an entirely new way. The enthusiasm and commitment they put into this project after initially showing signs of apathy, has been exceptional." (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 2008) The story of one particular team member, Danny McErlean, who comes from an ethnic minority background, is quite exceptional. Having left school in his early teens and later running away from his home, Danny found refuge in youth hostels for a while. Throughout these years he was also involved in petty offences and drug abuse. It was in this troubled condition that the 12-Week programme offer came his way.