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The trainees


LAURENCE, 18 Laurence is unemployed with only short-term jobs as a pizza delivery boy and a retail salesman to his name. He dropped out of business studies at sixth form college and has been looking for an apprenticeship for the past two years without success.

ZAC, 19 Zac is currently working in landscape gardening but is keen to get into carpentry. He studied graphic design at college, but did not enjoy it. After college Zac was unsure about what to do so he became involved with The Prince's Trust. He took part in a 12-week personal development course where he learnt about teamwork, which improved his motivation and leadership skills.

GREG, 19 Greg found school very difficult and after year nine was sent to behavioural problem schools until he was 16 and also spent a year in a children's home aged 15 before living with his grandma. Over this time he was in and out of trouble and spent time in prison. He now has his own rented accommodation and is determined to leave his past behind him. A few months ago he did a semi-residential plastering course at a family-run business in Wales.

SOPHIA, 18 Sophie, nicknamed Soaps, is studying for an A-Level in biology. Despite her dyslexia, she already has 10 GCSE's, ranging from A* to C and AS Qualifications in maths, drama, biology and photography. She has decided against university and moved into a squat for five months, which she feels gave her good life experience - dealing with people from different backgrounds. It also gave her a chance to get her hands dirty fixing the electrics and water - something she really enjoyed.

HANNAH, 19 Hannah was a model student in her school career and had an impressive array of qualifications. But despite enthusiastically beginning a three-year course in Maths, Statistics and Economics at Warwick University, she soon realised that it was not for her and dropped out after four months. She is currently working as an administration assistant for a housing association but not enjoying the monotony of office work. She recently became interested in the building trades.

DAVID, 18 David is motivated by individual ambition rather than the need to impress his peers.

He has a keen interest in architecture but is not convinced that university is for him.

David has a provisional university offer for an architectural degree but is willing to turn this down for a place on the project. He has been working for a computer company and a primary school as an ICT assistant while completing his studies.

RICKY, 18 Image-conscious Ricky feels he was wrongly branded a trouble-maker at school when he took things into his own hands and stood up to his sister's bullies. His sense of injustice means he's keen to prove he is a 'good bloke' and can 'get on with things' but nevertheless he will not sit back and ignore things he thinks are wrong.

He comes from a supportive family with a background in the trades. Ricky admires his bricklayer/ scaffolder dad and would like to follow in his footsteps.

DAN, 19 Dan has lived with foster parents from the age of six. He moved out of his foster parents home a few months ago and now lives in a council flat in Bath. Dan previously dropped out of a painting and decorating apprenticeship and has since tried to get back into it but without success. He is hoping that the programme will give him a second chance to learn a trade.

GREGORIO, 19 Gregorio (below) has a passion for carpentry but he has found it near-impossible to find an apprenticeship. He recently took part in a woodwork course based in Camden. But he was unable to complete it because he 'left all of his coursework and certificates on the bus'As a result Greg quit the class in January because he did not have enough time to re-do all of his work. As unlikely as it sounds, his youth worker corroborated the story.