When Ellie (left in the boat above) signed up for our Prince’s Trust Programme in Bradford she had no idea she'd be facing all her worst fears - meeting new people, learning new skills and staying away from home.

And then there was the tricky issue of having to be persuaded to climb on board a boat!

So was it all worth it? 

Here's what she has to say:

Why did you choose Prince’s Trust?

I did the programme because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and even if I figured it out I didn’t have any sort of experience or GCSEs or even goals for the future so when I heard about the programme I instantly thought it was a good idea for me.

How did you feel at the start?

I was definitely feeling nervous and scared because I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know what we were going to be doing. Meeting new people is a tough thing for me especially in a new environment.

Any surprises?

To be honest I didn’t know what I was expecting. I just thought it would be all sitting down and working like a classroom environment but it wasn’t like that at all. It was a laugh and I started making a few friends which made it easier for me. What surprised me the most was how laid-back all the staff were. I felt that I could talk to any of them if I had a problem or just needed someone to talk to.

What have you learnt about yourself?

I’ve learnt that I can put myself out there and actually make friends with people that I don’t know and it just takes a bit of courage and I can do it. I’ve also learnt that when I am scared of doing something I can do it with a bit of encouragement and if I just push myself and do it I will like the rewards. I’ve also realised that I can time keep and actually show up when I thought I’d end up quitting when I can actually do it.

Any new practical skills?

I can now give someone CPR because someone was brought in to teach us and at least I know that if in the future anything occurs I will have the skills to be able to help save someone’s life. I did some work-experience as part of the course where I learnt how answer the phone and do filing and be on reception in a business office.

What were your highlights?

  • One of my best things I did whilst doing the programme was making friends and putting aside my nerves in order to do so.
  • The second best thing was going on residential and facing a lot of my fears like getting in a boat with a lot of people in or just being away from home that long for the first time.
  • And the third is feeding the homeless because it made me feel good about doing it and helping out people who need it.

What didn’t you like?

  • I didn’t like being in situations where I’m uncomfortable like when we all first met and we did bonding activities even though it brought us a lot closer.
  • I also really didn’t like getting up early in the morning to get there each day but I would need to do that if I was working.

How do you feel now?

I wasn’t sad to finish the programme because I’ve learnt new skills that I will need in the future and I’m happy about that. I will stay in contact with the friends I’ve made and we will probably meet up again.

The programme has made me feel more confident in myself and with meeting new people and also working in a business place or just in everyday life. I would like to be able to do something with writing and I will use the skills I’ve learnt to go looking for a job that I will like doing.

And would you do it again?

Definitely. I would love to do it all over again!