Balqis (19) lives with her parents and five siblings in Selangor state, Malaysia. Her father is a daily wage worker, doing gardening, construction and grave-digging jobs. Her mother works as a clerk and warden at an orphanage.
When Balqis finished high school, she describes herself as ‘clueless and jobless’. Very shy, she found it difficult to speak in public, especially in front of people she didn’t know. Too timid to contribute ideas or join discussions, Balqis found working in a team particularly intimidating.
“Before, I lacked self-confidence. I found it hard to approach others and I didn’t usually talk to other people.”
Then Balqis signed up for the TEAM programme, a Prince’s Trust International initiative delivered in Malaysia by Selangor Youth Community (SAY).
The TEAM programme, which SAY launched in 2020, combines hands-on learning activities with opportunities for young people to practise their emerging teamwork and communication skills through real-life community projects and work experience placements.
Step by step, the nine-week journey supported Balqis to build up her confidence, allowing her innate capabilities to shine through. Balqis began to actively participate rather than passively observe. By the end of the programme, Balqis was confident enough to take to the stage and give a public presentation in front of an audience of important dignitaries, including His Highness The Crown Prince of Selangor.
Soon after the programme ended, Balqis was invited to interview for a combined work-study engineering placement. She was promptly offered a scholarship onto the course, which sees her work during the day and study in the evenings. Now she earns while she learns, helping to support her family while also building her future.
Balqis is clear that the confidence and skills she gained from the TEAM programme played a key role in her successful interview, and have also helped in her ongoing work and study, especially in terms of presenting and discussing ideas or data with classmates, colleagues and managers.
“Most importantly, it boosted my communication skills. I can talk to other people… If I’m in a team, I can contribute my ideas.”
Balqis was among the first ever group to go through the TEAM programme in Malaysia. All eight young people from her group went into jobs or further education within weeks of completing the programme.