STANDING on a stage and giving a presentation is a daunting experience for most but for seven young people it marked the end of a transformative 12 weeks.
The group, aged from 17 to 24, each gave a presentation to mark the end of their participation in the Prince’s Trust Team Programme.
Friends, family and dignitaries gathered yesterday in the council chamber at Fareham Civic Offices to hear about the activities the young people had taken part in.
The programme was run by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service since 2002 and it is designed to help young people improve their skills and attitudes to prepare them for work.
Connor Pickering, 17, from Stubbington, said: ‘I feel like I know where I am going and what I want to do now.
‘It has given me the opportunity to turn my life around.’
The group spent time at Gosport Fire Station, as well as on a residential camping trip to the New Forest.
They went on work experience placements and fundraised to help community groups – raising £850 to do up the garden at the Dinky Ducks Daycare nursery in Sure Start, Rowner.
The group did all the work to the garden and transformed it into a happy space for the children to play.
Connor said: ‘As soon as the staff and the children came out, they all had big smiles showing us that it was all worthwhile.’
Out of 16 who started the course, only seven finished, and they were presented with awards from the mayor of Fareham Cllr David Norris.
All of the group said they had made lifelong friendships, built up their confidence, gained life skills and were now ready for work.
Stephanie Webb, 17, from Stubbington, said: ‘I feel I now have the confidence to ask for an application form and get an interview.’
Maisie Jeannevol, 21, from Gosport, said: ‘It changed my life.’
Others to complete were Tom Doughty, 21, Victoria McEwan, 18, Andrew Suckling, 24, and Luke Watson, 22.
Assistant leader David Westby said: ‘These seven young people have stuck it out through highs and the lows, through thick and thin.
‘I hope we have given them the confidence and direction to fulfil their potentials.’