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Serco celebrates 150 Prince's Trust graduates

Published: 27 Nov 2013

A man who used to be homeless is one of the latest graduates of The Prince's Trust Get into Health programme, which was first piloted by Serco.

Martin Wakenell, 25, from Norwich lost his father when he was just 16. Life at home was difficult and he often felt he had no-one to talk to about his problems. This had an impact on his grades and he left school with just two qualifications. Difficulties at home left him homeless, surviving on tins of cold beans.

Martin said: "Life was tough. I felt like I didn't have many people to talk to and every day was a struggle. I found it really hard to cope. I felt very alone and didn't know which way to turn".

With dyslexia, few qualifications and no experience, Martin struggled to find full-time work. He was on the dole and at rock bottom when he heard about The Prince's Trust.

Martin joined The Trust's Get into Hospital Services course, run by Serco Health and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. As part of the scheme, he completed a work placement as a hospital porter and shone in the role, for the first time realising his potential.

After completing the course, Martin impressed Serco and the hospital so much with his determination and hard work that he was offered a full-time role as a catering assistant. He has since gained a Level 2 NVQ in support services and is studying for a Level 2 NVQ in support services catering.

Get into Health is a partnership set up in 2008 by Health Education East of England and The Prince's Trust. It consists of several programmes, including Get into Health & Social CareGet into Health and Wellbeing, and Get into Hospital Services

They are short vocational courses aimed at giving young people aged 16 to 25, who are not in employment or education, the skills to join the NHS workforce. Serco piloted the first Get into Health programme in April 2009. In partnership with Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, it has supported more than 150 young people through the programme.

Three in four young people on The Prince's Trust programmes go on to get a job, move into education or access training.

Steve John Shepherd, a Prince's Trust ambassador, will host a graduation event for the 34 students on the current Get into Hospital Services programme at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Friday (November 29). He recently starred as Michael Moon in EastEnders.