Chartered Management Institute: In my opinion

Chartered Management Institute Companion Martina Milburn identifies strategies to enable charities to survive, thrive and achieve their purpose.

A charity's success is judged ultimately by its shareholders - those it seeks to help. But if charities want to win the survival game, they must be well-equipped on all fronts. For the Prince's Trust, this means keeping pace with the changing needs of young people, our supporters and donors. It's a constant challenge. As a mother of three, I know that the pressure of bringing up children can be one of life's most difficult tests. But when you add into the mix the responsibility of supporting 40,000 disadvantaged young people every year, the task can be demanding and uplifting in equal measure.

Popular opinion holds that most of this country's lost generation are troubled wasters who don't want to work and are happy to live off benefits. Far from it. Many of the young people I meet want to work but lack the self-belief and practical skills to get that first chance. Every day, we help 100 young people develop the skills and confidence to get a job. Helping a youth emerge from depression and addiction into a self- assured person who has started an apprenticeship or even a business is inspiring.

But this is not just about philanthropy; it's good business sense. The dramatic growth in developing economies is transforming the global market, making educational achievement a key indicator of our young people. Keeping pace with these changes will become increasingly important if we are to remain competitive. We have a huge pool of young people who want a job but lack the skills to get one. The trick is bridging that divide. Almost one in five young people in this country are out of work or training - that's more than 1.2 million potential workers who could transform our economy's productivity.

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