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Ruth's story

Read Ruth’s story about graduating university and finding work at the Prince’s Trust

Key themes: University, skills, volunteering, The Prince's Trust, ADHD, skills

1. Hi, can you introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Ruth (she/ they) I’m 24 and I live in Manchester. I’m a Youth Development Lead at the Prince’s Trust, which means that I run one-to-one and group workshops to help young people achieve their goals in life.

I am also part of the Prince’s Trust’s LGBTQ+ employee network, so I help to make sure that the organization is doing the best we can to support LGBTQ+ staff.

Outside of work I am a visual artist and a researcher, focusing on understanding young people’s relationship to the natural environment. I do all sorts of odd things including painting, drawing, natural dyeing, textile art, and more! My absolute dream this year is to successfully grow a courgette.

2. Tell us a bit about your journey through education and into work, and if you faced any challenges along the way? 

Going through school in the aftermath of Section 28, and those classic late 00s/early 10s budget cuts, it definitely felt more like a place to cope with than a place to enjoy and explore. I had some great times, and actually a lot of the kids I went to school with were super accepting of my sexuality, but I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), so school wasn’t really the place for me anyway, and Uni was absolute chaos!

I do genuinely love learning, but it was just absolutely not the one for me and graduating in 2020 right at the start of the pandemic was pretty unideal. I remember applying for every job going. If they replied to me at all, it was only to say they’d had hundreds of applicants and wouldn’t be giving me an interview.

3. How did you overcome these challenges? 

For me it was really important to keep a balance of pursuing different opportunities, but also taking time to relax and reflect. I didn’t want to burn myself out by frantically applying for everything that came up, but I did pursue a lot of random little pieces of volunteering, online courses, etc. That kind of thing really helped me to understand what kinds of ways I like to learn and to work, and different skills I didn’t even know I had!

Bit of a shameless plug here, but we have loads of different courses at the Prince’s Trust that can help you explore your options, skills, and learning style! I actually got my current job through a Prince’s Trust ‘Get Hired’ scheme.

4. Tell us a bit about what you do now

As a Youth Development Lead, I have recently been working on the Kickstart scheme, so I’ve been helping young people to make the most of their work placements, to enjoy themselves, and to look for their next job opportunity. Kickstart is finishing up soon, so I’m really looking forward to finding out what my next role at the Prince’s Trust will be.

5. What advice would you give to a LGBTQ+ young person thinking about taking the next step into the world of training or work? 

Stonewall Young Futures is a great resource for finding out more about employers and training providers before you join them. But if you’re interested in an organisation that isn’t covered here, feel free to get in touch before you apply and ask them what they do to welcome LGBTQ+ participants. (The same goes for any other aspects of your identity that you’re worried might not be supported.)

I would also really recommend connecting with other LGBTQ+ people in your place of work or training!

Getting to know other queer and non-binary colleagues at the Prince’s Trust has really helped me to feel confident sharing my sexuality and gender identity at work, and it’s been great to have the opportunity to support other colleagues to do the same!

The Prince’s Trust has lots of support on offer for finding a job!

If you're interested, find out more about working at The Prince’s Trust.

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