09 Oct Prince’s Trust CIO David Ivell on how tech is helping young people
Prince’s Trust CIO David Ivell had led the development of a digital platform that is bringing better services than ever to vulnerable young people wherever they live.
The Prince’s Trust helps around 70,000 18-30-year-olds every year to find a job or start a business, but that number is just a fraction of the people who seek the charity’s support. Ivell’s brief is to double it in three years.
“It’s an ambitious target, but we’re on target to do that, and it’s going really quite splendidly,” he tells CIO UK.
The Trust was founded by Prince Charles in 1976. The UK was struggling with high unemployment and spiralling inflation at the time, and the charity launched 21 pilot projects aimed at young people it hoped would help.
The programmes it provides today serve a similar purpose. They cover education for those at risk of underachievement in school, training and work experience across specific industries, personal development to gain key workplace skills and confidence, and support to start new businesses. Last year they filled all of these programmes with just 12% of their enquiries.
The plan is to reach the remaining 88% by using an approach called rapid prototype methodology to develop an online platform that offers a new way to access services.
“We take components off the shelf and we put them into the business,” explains Ivell.
The Trust adopted this approach to developing the new platform after the three-year growth plan was set out in September 2016. They built the first prototype in December of that year and tested it the following January. In March 2017 they brought the first 100 young people into the service.
The platform they developed is Prince’s Trust Online, a portal that allows young people to benefit from the programmes even if they can’t attend in person.
In June 2017 they launched a national campaign with a keynote address at London Tech Week.
“We turned on our marketing on day one, and then turned it off again on day four because we were completely swamped by the number of young people who came to us,” says Ivell.