On 23rd November 2016, we celebrated in style at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow for The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & HomeSense Celebrate Success Awards.

Each young person who has been nominated for Celebrate Success has a unique story. Be inspired by our Celebrate Success finalists from Scotland. 

Young Achiever of the Year

The Young Achiever of the Year award, sponsored by TK Maxx and HomeSense, recognises the success of young people getting into employment, training or education and overcoming substantial barriers to transform their lives.

Winner: Darren McNamara

Darren with his award at Celebrate Success

Darren, 27, experienced the break-up of his family very early and there followed many years of instability, truancy and absence of any structure or direction in his young life. 

Drawn into neighbourhood gangs by the age of 10, he became involved in drugs, drinking alcohol and serious criminal activity. His life was out of control and eventually, Darren slid into severe mental health problems. Hallucinating, he lost the ability to distinguish reality and knew that unless he escaped from this lifestyle, something really bad would happen to him.

After false starts which led nowhere, he came across The Prince’s Trust and enrolled on the Get into Bus Engineering programme.

Darren impressed from the start, with his practical ability, his serious attitude and commitment to mastering his trade. He was offered an apprenticeship and became one of the firm’s most valuable assets.

Now he speaks in public in support of The Trust.

Finalist: Georgina McGuffie

Georgina at Celebrate Success

Georgina, 26, grew up in an environment of drug dependency. Having no positive role models in her life, Georgina left school at 16 and joined a local gang. She hung about on the streets, drinking alcohol, taking drugs and getting into trouble with the police.

Remarkably, Georgina found the confidence to complete a six month construction course but when she couldn’t find work, she began signing on and descended into a life lacking routine or purpose.  

After four years unemployed, she managed to work as a stock-taker though she was paid off after a year. Georgina realised she enjoyed work. Through the job centre she enrolled on The Prince’s Trust Get into Cooking programme.

Georgina had found her talent and progressed straight to employment, impressing her colleagues hugely.

Now she is an advocate for The Trust, promoting its work among young people and being the role model she never had herself. 

Finalist: Mhari Savery

Mhari at Celebrate Success

Mhari, 24, didn’t care when she was expelled from  school because of her disruptive behaviour; she hated the place.

She became homeless and spent her time hanging around the streets, drinking with friends.

Long phases of unemployment were interspersed with short phases of employment and training but all these ended in failure, reinforcing Mhari’s negative feelings about her life. During a year working in childcare, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and lost confidence that she could continue fulfilling the role.  

Hearing about The Prince’s Trust from a friend, Mhari enrolled on the Team programme then moved on to Fairbridge, gaining skills and confidence and learning to relate to others and work as part of a team.

Mhari progressed to the Get into Care programme and, following a successful placement, secured permanent employment in a local care home

She is now working and studying for vocational qualifications and hopes to go on to university.

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Young Ambassador of the Year

The Young Ambassador of the Year award, sponsored by Baillie Gifford & Co, recognises young people who are exceptional Young Ambassadors for The Trust. These young people volunteer their time to share their personal experiences and inspire others.

Winner: Faisal Ahmed

Faisal Ahmed

Faisal, 26, came to the UK at the age of seven, unable to speak English. His life was difficult as he dealt with racist attitudes and bullying. Although he was successful in exams and went on to university to study accountancy and finance, Faisal knew this wasn’t the right career for him and he dropped out.

This caused conflict with his family and it was in this context that his father told him that the woman he knew as his mother was not his birth mother.

He was determined to find her, but when he did she was seriously ill and needed constant care. She died soon after and this inspired Faisal to go into a caring profession himself. Through The Prince’s Trust Get into Care programme he got a job at the Western General Hospital. 

Now he devotes his spare time to supporting The Trust as an Ambassador, testifying what it can do for young people.

Finalist: Zainab Magzoub

Zainab Magzoub at Celebrate Success

Arriving in the UK from Sudan, Zainab, 21, settled well and enjoyed school but, as a teenager, she rebelled against cultural expectations and left the family home. Relations with her family declined and Zainab was effectively homeless. 

After a year in hostels, she became extremely depressed and experienced panic attacks. When she did get a flat of her own and started a journalism course, she developed health problems and had to drop out.

Zainab heard about The Prince’s Trust Team programme and decided to apply since she feared sliding back into depression.

On the programme she re-established a routine, learned skills and made friends. Zainab found a new direction in life and moved on to study Highers at college, with the intention of pursuing a career in international relations. 

Zainab is now a Young Ambassador for The Trust and has shone in this role, even appearing on STV to tell her story.

Finalist: Simon Gemmell

Simon at Celebrate Success

Simon, 22, faced multiple barriers to success. These included family breakdown, substance misuse and difficulties at school. He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity disorder and by the time he was 15, Simon’s violent behaviour had led to exclusions and he dropped out, spending his time hanging about with older boys.

This led to drug taking and involvement in serious criminal activity resulting in Simon entering the criminal justice system. His support worker referred Simon to The Prince’s Trust Team programme.

Simon learned how to control his anger, work in a team and build positive relationships with peers and authority figures. Simon was invited to support other young people. This further boosted his self-confidence as he realised he had become a role model for these young people.

He succeeded in getting a job in the rig supplies industry and speaks about The Trust at events all over Scotland.

Finalist: Alice Castle 

Alice at Celebrate Success

Alice, 22, never identified with the male gender which was assigned to her at birth. Despite a supportive family, Alice experienced prejudice and bullying, both physical and verbal, by people who did not understand. Depressed, she couldn’t leave the house and would stay in her room, having little contact with the outside world.

Dropping out of school, Alice made false starts at work and college, each failure further depressing her self-esteem. She was convinced that her lack of opportunity was largely due to prejudice and came to realise she needed specialist help to be able to work with people who felt uncomfortable with a transgender person

Desperate for specialist help, Alice enrolled on The Prince’s Trust Get into Hospitality programme. She excelled and was so successful in her work placement that she was offered a permanent job.

Now Alice is a powerful advocate for The Trust as a Young Ambassador.

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Enterprise Award

The Enterprise Award, sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland, recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or a community or social enterprise.

Winner: Siobhan Mackenzie

Siobhan with her award at Celebrate Success

It seemed that so many obstacles were put in Siobhan’s way that she was destined not to fulfil her dream of running her own fashion design business. Siobhan, 23, bought herself a sewing machine when she was 13. Then she suffered years of ill-health, being hospitalised and missing school.

On her own, she studied hard and qualified for university but, early on, she was involved in a fatal coach crash and received serious, long-term injuries. Following her dream, she managed to motivate herself to carry on and graduated with a first class degree.

Although she knew a vast amount about fashion, Siobhan knew nothing about business. Through The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, she gained a mentor and training in business and finance skills to start up her bespoke kilt-making firm.

Siobhan is now a multi-award winning fashion designer, recently awarded Best New Scottish Designer 2016 and her collections sell all over the world.

Finalist: Amanda Thompson 

Amanda, now 29, suffered sexual abuse as a child aged 10 which led to a diagnosis of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but not until later in life. In the meantime, she had turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. 

Amanda still found the determination to obtain her degree in Television and Film studies. She graduated and overcame her addictions, beginning work on films for some prestigious organisations such as Screen Education Edinburgh, BAFTA and BBC. She also managed and filmed, unpaid, an international campaign called The Road To Change, raising awareness of child sexual abuse.

Amanda then set up Blind Spot Productions approaching The Prince’s Trust for support. She was awarded a Will it Work grant to test her idea, and then a business loan, which funded her website and bought more filming equipment. 

She is now set to gain commissions internationally and finish directing the Road To Change documentary. 

Finalist: Angus Corbett 

Angus, 23, has always struggled with the challenges linked to his Asperger’s syndrome and eyesight problems. School was tough and his peers gave him a hard time. 

At college he took a course in Glass Design and Production. He set about looking for a job, but employers were wary. After a few knock-backs, Angus began to feel isolated, eventually locking himself in his room, only emerging for meals. 

The National Autistic Society pointed him in the direction of The Prince’s Trust and Angus realised he could start his own business designing and producing unique pieces of art glass. 

On the Enterprise programme he was awarded a grant to purchase equipment and materials. He was able to share his Mum’s studio at the bottom of the garden and began work on some designs. 

He is now mastering the technical challenges of a new kiln and marketing his products through social media.

Finalists and Winner at Celebrate Success

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Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award, sponsored by QTS Group, recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in sustainable employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.

Winner: Josh Gardner

Josh with his award at Celebrate Success

As a child, Josh, 25, experienced poverty, family conflict, mental health issues, parents’ unemployment and substance misuse. Relationships at home were strained and eventually, he and his mother left.

At school, Josh was highly anxious and withdrawn. He was terrified that his home circumstances would be exposed. He experienced bullying and his anxieties became so debilitating that he began to seek relief in alcohol and drugs.

He drifted through college courses and temporary jobs but his emotional difficulties persisted and he spent much time alone, crying. He desperately wanted to make a life for himself but didn’t know how to start.

Through his mother’s work, Josh found The Prince’s Trust Get into Customer Services programme. He had to overcome crippling anxiety to begin the programme but he was an outstanding young person, reliable, determined and focused on succeeding.

Josh’s work placement was so successful he was immediately offered a permanent job.

Finalist: Jordan McCrossan

For three years, Jordan, 23, from Edinburgh, lived through the nightmare of a toxic relationship. She left school with no qualifications but was hopeful for the future until she became pregnant. When her partner left her just six weeks after their daughter was born, Jordan’s confidence was shattered and she fell into a deep depression.

A year later, she met someone else. At first, things went well and her new partner moved in, however things soon began to spiral out of control. Having never had a job, Jordan had no idea how to operate in a workplace or interact with colleagues. 

When she applied for the Get into Healthcare programme, she had no confidence that she could succeed. Through The Trust, she discovered confidence and skills and a sense of purpose. Now Jordan is working towards her dream of becoming a mental health nurse. 

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Community Impact Award

The Community Impact Award, sponsored by AG Barr, recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.

Winner: Leith Academy XL club

Leith Academy XL Club with their award at Celebrate Success

Fifteen young people, aged 15 and 16, came together in The Prince’s Trust xl programme (now known as Achieve). They shared multiple barriers to success, underachieving at school and lacking in self-belief. In addition, some were experiencing difficulties around mental health needs, offending behaviour and drug and alcohol abuse as well as poor school attendance.

For their project, they chose to support a campaign to honour the memory of 216 soldiers who had died in a train crash in 1915 on their way to the frontline. This tragedy had a huge impact on the people of Leith a hundred years ago and the team wanted to raise awareness of its centenary.

They learned many new skills, both practical and social, and achieved remarkable results, including involvement with television documentaries and meeting Scotland’s First Minister, as well as HRH The Princess Royal. 

Now, they feel a presence and a sense of purpose within the school and the wider community.

Finalist: Coltness High School Prince's Trust XL 4 Group

Coltness High School at Celebrate Success

Lacking motivation, self-confidence and direction, members of The Prince’s Trust xl (now known as Achieve) programme had all experienced many difficulties. Struggling socially and educationally, none of them had any idea how to organise their lives or plan for a future. 

For their project the group chose to make a film about bullying. They titled it “Hurting” and every member had to take responsibility for different aspects, from the storyline to post production. This required a high degree of cooperation and collaboration.

They went on to organise a premiere for their film where the reaction was extremely positive.

Now every member of the team has a direction for their future, either a college place or employment. Four members of the group have become involved in a community youth group.

The team’s impact on the community will be felt by many other young people who watch their film, “Hurting” and stop to think about the vital issues it raises.

Finalist: Team 25

Team 25 at Celebrate Success

Team 25 came together as a group of 14 young people, aged between 16 and 22, sharing multiple barriers to success. They had no self-belief and felt that whatever they did, they would always fail.

The Prince’s Trust Team programme gave them the chance to change their lives and equip themselves with skills for employment and the confidence to
go into the workplace and meet new people.

As their community project they chose to renovate the garden of Hope Place, a hostel providing supported accommodation for homeless young people.

The project involved planning and consulting then carrying out a variety of practical tasks. They took on a heavy workload in a limited timescale and, far from failing, they completed the work ahead of schedule.

The young people gained confidence and self-belief together with practical and team working skills and proved their value to themselves and to their community.

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Breakthrough Award

The Breakthrough Award, sponsored by HSBC, recognises the progress of young people in overcoming barriers and developing new skills.

Winner: Amanda McPhail

Amanda with her award at Celebrate Success

Before Amanda, 23, from Uddingston, found The Prince’s Trust, she felt her future was uncertain. Unemployed for five years after she left school, Amanda experienced difficulties with relationships after the birth of her daughter, born in 2011. 

Amanda’s mental health deteriorated, she neglected her health and wellbeing and attempted to take her own life. At this stage she was treated for her mental health issues as an in-patient.

Realising she needed help to turn her life around, she contacted The Prince’s Trust. She found the courage to enrol on the Fairbridge course and found that she could push herself to take on new challenges. She began to feel a new sense of well-being and gained a new perspective on her life.

Amanda moved on to The Trust’s Get into Retail programme, receiving excellent feedback and gaining valuable skills for employment.

Now Amanda is studying cookery to gain more experience and further her career.   

Finalist: Megan McCann

Megan at Celebrate Success

Megan, 17, lived in 12 different houses before the age of 14. Inevitably, she was unable to make lasting social relationships and came to feel socially isolated. 

An equally traumatic school life reduced her self-confidence and motivation to zero. She became involved with underage drinking and fell in with an older crowd. Taunted by her peers, she also felt rejected by her teachers and completely worthless. Her attendance plummeted and she left school without taking exams because she didn’t believe she could succeed.

Although she took a part-time job in a chip shop, Megan lacked the confidence to speak to the customers.

She enrolled on The Prince’s Trust Team programme, convinced she would fail again but the residential proved a turning point and Megan came back with a new found confidence and took advantage of everything The Trust could offer her.

Now she is studying and has plans for a career in psychology.

Finalist: Darren McGuinness

Darren at Celebrate Success Scotland

Darren, 23, was born with Achondroplasia which resulted in disproportionate short stature. 

After an unhappy experience of school, Darren drifted through a succession of different jobs, unable to find a career that suited him, always worrying that people would judge him on his appearance rather than his abilities.

When Darren was 18 his mother died. He formed a relationship, moved away and had a son but he split from his partner before the birth and returned to Paisley where, conscious of his responsibilities, he signed on to receive benefits again. 

Introduced to The Trust, he committed with enthusiasm and determination to all it had to offer him.

Darren completed three Trust programmes, discovering that cooking and catering motivated him most. Impressing Marks & Spencer on a placement, he was offered a 12 week contract, working in the Deli. Darren’s good humour and enthusiasm made him popular with staff and customers. 

He wants to continue working at M&S.

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Educational Achiever of the Year

The Educational Achiever of the Year award, sponsored by Arnold Clark, recognises young people who have overcome barriers, developed new skills and improved their education prospects.

Winner: Katie Lawson

Katie Lawson with her award at Celebrate Success

Katie, 17, experienced a difficult childhood when her mother became unable to care for her and she went to live with grandparents. There was conflict at home and Katie felt bullied at school. 

She lost confidence and motivation and developed anxiety, depression and an unhealthy relationship with food. She became socially isolated and there were very few people she felt she could trust. Katie began to blame herself for these difficulties.  

The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme addressed Katie’s personal and social needs. Her anxiety around unfamiliar people and places made her nervous about undertaking the course but Katie pushed herself, gaining confidence and motivation and learning new skills to help her succeed in her education. She challenged her attitude to eating and feels she grew up in a very short period of time.

Katie went on to The Trust’s xl programme to find direction for her future and is now studying Beauty Therapy at college.

Finalist: Callum Davies

Callum Davies at Celebrate Success

Following the death of his mother at the start of his secondary school, Callum, 17, found it difficult to engage his studies. He was shy and uncommunicative and lacked direction. 

He joined The Prince’s Trust programme and attended a taster day at CMS Windows. He immediately expressed an interest in undertaking a work placement at the firm and spent 10 weeks learning more about their business. 

This involved a taxing journey there and back but Callum persevered, showing increasing enthusiasm and commitment to the firm. He grew in confidence and told his employer that he was interested in any vacancies that might arise.

Callum was offered a modern apprenticeship and is now working full-time. In addition, he speaks to other young people on taster days at CMS, telling them about his journey with The Trust and what he has achieved as a result.

Finalist: Baqer Al Dakhil 

Baqer Al Dakhil at Celebrate Success

Just two years ago, Baqer, 16, suddenly found himself transported from a war zone in Iraq to Glasgow. Speaking no English, he struggled academically and socially at school.

He was enrolled on a Prince’s Trust programme at school to help him make decisions about what he wanted to do when he left school. He quickly demonstrated a high level of practical ability and enthusiasm, particularly in relation to technology and electronics. 

Through The Trust, he was provided with intensive, specialist language tuition, enabling him to exploit his talent in electronics to take part in an enterprise challenge. His confidence grew and he took part in a presentation in front of a large audience. The technology partners, Artronix, that were working on the programme were so impressed with Baqer’s talents that he was awarded a special certificate in recognition of his achievements. 

The Trust has given Baqer the skills to access the curriculum and to communicate effectively with friends and teachers.

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