Team 3 at We Do Print are entering their final 2 weeks, so I felt it was probably time to update you on their progress and the personal developments made by some of our young people.

Given the personal nature of some of this information, I’m going to keep their names to myself, but the extraordinary resilience and drive they have demonstrated will speak for itself.

Our first young person has, at times, been about as low as you can be. Following the death of a parent, mental health and drugs related issues led to homelessness – initially sofa surfing, progressing into sleeping rough. He had achieved a raft of qualifications at school and college but the lack of stability in his life made it all but impossible to start his career. Soon after finding a place in supported housing, he joined us at We Do Print and has been an essential part of the team ever since. He has aspirations to start his own graphic design company and through his experience gained in the last 10 weeks, has managed to gain a work trial with a graphics company for a trainee role. All our fingers are crossed at the moment!

Another Team 3 member has been on the long road to recovery following a severe mental health episode and ongoing issues with depression and anxiety. Just communicating with people she did not know was not an option at one point. This was in addition to issues around being abused as a child and eventually moving into supported housing away from everyone and everything she knew. Initially incredibly shy and crippled by self-doubt, she has made some incredible progress in her confidence and is now regularly taking responsibility for our customer communications and answering the phone. In addition to this, she is applying for administration and customer service roles, things that previously would have sent her into a blind panic.

This might also be a good point to provide some updates on some of our previous team members. One of the members of Team 2 has, after years of tumult and a distinct lack of self-belief, progressed into a marketing apprenticeship with a large local company. He is facing the challenges that come with moving into regular work and while still developing some of his key work place skills, he is showing real promise. It fills everyone who has had contact with him during his time at YG with an intense pride, to see him suited and booted and speaking confidently to clients over the phone.

Team 1 faced a different challenge as part of We Do Print, namely that they were setting up a business, rather than coming into a functioning one. Their role included tasks like helping to design the logo and actually finding a way to get some of the bigger bits of equipment into the building. As a result, their connection to the business was deeper, more personal and it is with real delight that we have been able to keep one of them on as part of the team, earning money as a freelance graphic designer. He has been working with YG for around a year now, initially completing the Prince’s Trust Team Programme before progressing into the opportunity at We Do Print. He is also engaging with our mentoring programme, so there are a lot of people at YG who are very proud of the huge steps he has made in his personal development. This confident, creative and funny young man has a really bright future ahead.

The whole drive behind the project at We Do Print is to get young people into work; a simple premise, but much more complex in reality. But the joy, for lack of a better word, when we see one of our young people succeeding in the world of work, cements our purposes and strengthens our resolve to keep pushing.