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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Prince promotes workplace skills
Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales set up the trust 30 years ago
The Prince's Trust is setting up its own qualification for the estimated 30,000 young people who leave school each year with no GCSEs.

The Certificate in Personal, Teamwork and Community Skills will be awarded to 16 to 25-year-olds who complete a 12-week course.

The trust said it would "significantly increase" employability.

The government said the number of pupils who left school with no qualifications had halved since 1997.

'End to struggling'

The trust said its qualification would be "comparable to a GCSE" and help young people get their lives "back on track".

The trust's commercial director, Carol Homden, said: "This will help thousands of young people avoid a lifetime of struggling to find work."

About 8,000 are expected to gain the qualification in its first year.

It was developed in partnership with City & Guilds and the Learning and Skills Council.

Jennifer Bernard, consulting director at City & Guilds, said: "Many young people find school difficult but do well in the workplace.

"This will give them a chance to succeed by demonstrating their vocational skills and improving their employment prospects."

Shadow education secretary David Willetts praised the Trust's "remarkable" commitment to helping children.

"But it is deeply shocking that 30,000 young people are leaving school with no qualifications whatsoever," he added.

"Every young person is entitled to an education that will meet their needs for life."

Engaging with learning

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Since 1997 we have halved the number of pupils leaving school with no qualifications.

"Last years GCSE results showed a record number achieving five good GCSEs.

"We are already taking steps to engage the minority of pupils who leave school without any GCSEs.

"The issues that contribute to low achievement are complex but ensuring young people can engage with learning is key."

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