A young man who participated on a Prince’s Trust programme delivered by WCG has received royal recognition for turning his life around.
Kieran Egan from Nuneaton, was given the top award from HRH The Prince of Wales after transforming his life following a period of homelessness, unemployment and an arrest for hooliganism.
The twenty three-year-old scooped the prestigious national HSBC Breakthrough Award at an Oscar-style ceremony held at the London Palladium on 13 March hosted by Fearne Cotton and Phillip Schofield. The award recognises the progress of young people in overcoming barriers and developing new skills.
By his own admission, Kieran wasn't an attractive proposition for an employer. However, participation on a youth personal development programme taught him not to be defined by his past and he is now working and studying for his Level 2 qualification in Active Sports Leadership.
On winning the HSBC Breakthrough Award, Kieran Egan said:
“It’s been a whirlwind of emotions digesting what has happened but I now have a part-time job and I volunteer on the programme. I’m studying at college and can see a career for myself doing something I love. My future is looking so much brighter now thanks to The Prince’s Trust. I feel more confident and happier. My life good.”
Professional footballer Marcus Rashford who presented Kieran’s award said: “Kieran has used his passion for football to turn his life around. He’s faced adversity but, with the support of The Prince's Trust, has overcome it to take control of his future and help others, and that is what true leadership is all about.”
The Prince’s Trust Team programme helps unemployed young people gain the skills and confidence they need to find work. The 12-week initiative involves a team-building residential, a community project, vocational experience, fundraising and workshops to develop CV writing and interview techniques.
Kieran enrolled on a programme at Nuneaton Fire Station and it was the local homeless charity, Doorway, which suggested he might like to participate. At the time Kieran was recovering from an appendectomy and thought he’d give the programme a go. He said: “I thought I’d pass the time whilst I recovered. I had nothing to lose.” It was to be the making of him.
It was during the four-day residential element that he experienced a significant breakthrough. Kieran confided to Project Coordinator at WCG, Paul Harrison about how his life had taken a downward spiral following the sudden death of his death of his best friend at the age of 16. He had never previously spoken about his grief before and it was a massive weight off his chest to tell someone.
Kieran explains: “Paul is the person who changed my perception of the course. He’s an absolute legend - an incredible guy!”
From then on life become more hopeful and Team Leader at WCG, Casey Frampton continued to support Kieran’s personal journey of transformation.
Casey said: “As soon as I met Kieran I knew he had huge potential but everyone else around him had told him he would amount to nothing. Within a short space of time his confidence and self belief grew and he put all his efforts into improving his life and opportunities. Kieran changed his life completely and I will never forget being by his side for his 12 weeks on the Team programme witnessing that.”
“The awards ceremony was fantastic, a real showcase of the young people's achievements with some exciting famous faces too. Seeing Kieran walk the red carpet and being congratulated by the likes of HRH Prince Charles, Phillip Schofield and Fearne Cotton was just surreal; a real career defining moment and something Kieran will never forget.”
Kieran continues: “My team leader Casey went above and beyond. She showed belief in me. To her I wasn’t just a statistic - she actually wanted me to achieve something with my life. To have that one person who believes in you when no one else has is powerful. I am forever indebted to both Paul and Casey as without them I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.”
A keen football fan, Kieran learnt of the award win from his hero Gareth Southgate during a visit to St George’s Park. As winner of the regional Midlands Prince’s Trust Breakthrough Award, Kieran had been told he was there to give a talk about his transformational journey. To his utter amazement the England football manager surprised him with a personal tour around the training ground and together they shared a footballing challenge before Gareth revealed he had won the national title.
Kieran now wants to be a football coach and positively help other young people in the community. He said: "As someone who has done it, I want to tell them about how you can turn your life around, how you can get a second chance if you take a positive path."
Multi-college group WCG has been a Team programme delivery partner with the Prince’s Trust for over 15 years, during which time it has successfully taken over a 1000 young people through the programme. It is the largest provider in the UK and currently operates from 16 locations across Coventry, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and South Birmingham.
Head of Department for Re-engagement and Schools at WCG, Chris Gately said: “We were all extremely proud to see Kieran collect this National Award at the London Palladium. Kieran has made outstanding progress with the support of his team leader and programme coordinator. In just 12 weeks he has turned his life around and we wish him every success with completing his sports course at college and the future.”
About The Prince’s Trust: Youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps young people to develop the confidence and skills they need to realise their ambitions, so that they can live, learn and earn. Founded by The Prince of Wales in 1976, the charity supports 11 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed, struggling at school and at risk of exclusion.
Many of the young people helped by The Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness, mental health problems, or have been in trouble with the law. The programmes offered by the charity give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training. The Trust has helped over 950,000 young people to date and supports over 100 more each day.