Published 26 February 2009

Prince William has today become Royal Patron of the charity Skill Force. The charity primarily utilises the skills of former members of the Armed Forces to run life skill courses for disadvantaged young people.

Skill Force works with over 260 schools across England, Scotland and Wales and with over 9,500 young people each year to deliver engaging alternative learning programs. Many of the young people involved are regarded as difficult to reach, whilst others simply benefit from the confidence building provided by the development opportunities on offer.

Skill Force’s aim is to unlock the potential of young people enabling them to prepare for life after school. Over 90 per cent of participants leave school with qualifications and over 85 per cent go on to positive destinations. Annually, Skill Force manages to reduce from a predicted 23 per cent to between three and six per cent the number of so called ‘difficult to reach’ students who are not in education, employment or training.

Skill Force also reduces exclusions by a factor of five for those on the programme and increases the number of young people on free school meals going onto Further Education by a factor of 10 compared with those in the mainstream.

Prince William said: “I am delighted to become Patron of Skill Force. Skill Force combines the skills and experience of former members of the Armed Forces and other uniformed services with an innovative and successful approach to unlocking the potential of some of the Country’s most disadvantaged young people.”

Lord Freeman, Chairman of Skill Force, said: “Prince William’s interest in encouraging young people to learn self respect and self discipline, and improve their ambitions for achievement in life, are most welcome. We are very honoured and grateful.”