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Scotland Country Final

Meet the winners from our Scotland Country Finals of The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards. 

The winner of The Watches of Switzerland Group Young Change Maker is... Emma-May Millar

"Being a part of The Prince’s Trust and building friendships meant that I felt comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.”

Emma-May, from Falkirk, is a carer for her parents and has struggled with her mental health after many years of personal challenges at school that left her with severe anxiety and low self-esteem.

After spotting an advert on Facebook for The Prince’s Trust, Emma-May applied for and completed the Explore programme which worked on her confidence and groupwork skills, she then completed a couple of further courses with the Trust. After struggling at school, she was anxious about spending time with and building a rapport with young women her age, but she pushed through her fears, making friends, and enjoying the experience.

Although she aimed to go into further education, she also knew she had to improve her employability skills to secure a part-time job, so she decided to put herself forward for the Get into Hospitality course with Marriott. This would allow her to learn key skills that would put her in good stead for future jobs either in or outside of the hospitality sector.

She said: “My confidence was improving, and I had hope for the future. I was really enjoying the Get into Hospitality course with Marriott when lockdown was announced.

“I found this difficult to deal with. Lockdown meant I had to make drastic changes to my routine, and I began to feel like my personal progress was going backwards by having to stay in the house.

“My anxiety and depression began to get much worse but thankfully I started to get a wellbeing call from The Prince’s Trust twice a week. We chat about how I’m getting on, and we also discuss ways I can manage my mental health. This has been so important for me to maintain good mental health as I feel less isolated, and I am still making progress.”

While previously Emma-May felt nervous when talking to new people, she found the online group sessions helped greatly. She added:

I started to take part in group video calls which I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do just a few months before. I really enjoyed these as it reminded me of the fun I had doing group work pre-lockdown.

This new-found confidence also led her to be able to return to her high school and deliver a motivational speech and take part in a Q&A to discuss her journey.

Emma-May has managed to overcome the pressure of studying remotely and completed her access course to university. This meant she was able to continue following her dream of a career in Human Rights. She was successful in her application to Stirling University and embarked on a Law degree course in September 2021.

On top of her studies, Emma-May has also been playing a crucial role in the design of the Scottish Government’s Young Person Guarantee (YPG). She is one of a handful of young people across the country who are feeding directly into the Government to ensure the YPG is designed by young people for young people.

The NatWest Enterprise winner is... Daisy MacGowan

Daisy MacGowan dreamed of turning her hobby into a full-time career. Now, despite all the challenges presented by the Covid pandemic, she has been able to establish her own business in Dundee selling ethically and sustainably produced stationery, cards, gifts and art prints.

Daisy grew up in Ireland, where she completed a degree in Medieval History and Culture at Trinity College but after graduating, she found it difficult to find a natural career path using her qualifications. She searched online for organisations who could help her realise her ambition of running her own illustration business and came across The Prince’s Trust.

Daisy applied for The Trust’s Enterprise programme, which offers guidance and support for young people who want to start their own business.

She said: “I liked the idea of having someone to talk to about my business journey and bounce ideas around with. My mentor was amazing! The programme really helped me to get a good sense of what to expect from running my own business.

It also gave me opportunities to speak with successful members of the business community, who have given me some fantastic insights.

After completing the programme, Daisy felt more self-assured and ready to launch her new venture, Paper Earth Press. However, the launch of her business was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and Daisy, like so many others, found herself facing unprecedented challenges.

“The first lockdown started just after I’d handed in my notice and started the business. That was a big barrier to overcome as the shops I hoped to supply were all forced to close, and many are still cautious about buying stock."

On top of moving to a new country and launching a business, Daisy had also become a new mum. She added: “Being a mum is amazing, but childcare can be a challenge, especially because my relatives are back in Ireland. Managing your work-life balance can also be tough when you have a young child and run your own business.”

Despite these challenges, Daisy has been able to successfully establish her business amidst a global pandemic.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity. In the future I want to expand my business so that I can supply to shops across the UK, have a booming online shop and do more brand collaborations. This is going to involve hiring some staff – I think we’re probably going to need a bigger office!”

The Marvel Rising Star winner is... LJ Bradbury

"The Prince’s Trust allowed me to learn and progress so much – hopefully I can help to improve the journey of some other young people in a similar way.”

Having left university due to issues with depression and anxiety, LJ found work in a few different roles. However, she was unable to continue working when she began to suffer painful, debilitating migraines.

The migraines, which were eventually linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, were a blight on LJ’s life. Over the next three years she went through different medications and forms of treatment, many of which were unsuccessful, which affected her ability to work and left her without a job.

LJ noticed a post on Facebook advertising an upcoming Girls Week course in Edinburgh run by The Prince’s Trust and decided to apply. The week focused on mindfulness, perceptions, self-care, teamwork and body-positivity – aiming to help young women boost their confidence and improve their mental health.

Feeling that she benefitted enormously from Girls Week, LJ registered for follow up sessions. These sessions were varied – including cooking, orienteering and even an ‘aerial skills session’ where the participants found themselves upside down in a spinning cocoon. LJ enthusiastically took part in these activities and solidified the friendships she had made already.

She said: “Over the course of the week I tried new things, chatted with new people and felt a real sense of belonging. The chance to do something different with a supportive group in a safe environment made a huge impact on my confidence.” While she felt anxious about going along on the first day, LJ quickly began to feel more comfortable around her fellow participants and credits the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere with helping everyone to become friendly so quickly.

With her confidence boosted and with this renewed sense of self-belief she decided to apply for a role working for The Prince’s Trust - which she was delighted to be offered.

When I started on Girls Week, I had no confidence - that has changed hugely. I had always been a chatty person, so having that safe environment, guidance and the support of a great team meant that I was able to get that back.

LJ still has health concerns, but these have stabilized enough for her to be able to work again in a supportive environment and in January 2020 she secured a role with The Prince’s Trust, through Community Jobs Scotland, working as an Operations Support Administrator. She now works for The Trust as a Data Analyst (Health and Social Care) and is studying towards additional qualifications relating to this role.

The Ascential Educational Achiever is... Habiba Amin

“Before I came to The Prince's Trust, I had nothing to get excited about. Now, I’m at university, I have a job and I’m living a life where I’m much happier with who I am.”

There was a time when Habiba, from Glasgow, couldn’t see a bright future ahead for herself. She had fallen behind at school and was experiencing poor mental wellbeing, all of which led to her making the difficult decision to leave school for the benefit of her health. Realising that having no qualifications could hold her back, she spoke to her school’s careers advisor who recommended that she apply for courses with The Prince’s Trust.

Habiba said: “Coming to The Prince’s Trust was the best decision I have made; it gave me hope that I could change things for the better.

No one had ever told me I could do it before, or that I can change the world, but my mentor realised my potential when I couldn’t see it. That was such an advantage because now, I can see it.

Habiba completed two courses with The Prince’s Trust. The first was the Explore programme, which helped Habiba to build her confidence through team-building exercises and a residential trip.

The second course was the Team programme, which took place over three months at Glasgow Clyde college. Habiba gradually became more confident and became a valued member of the team. She found being in college was a better setting for her than school to learn and socialise with peers.

After completing the programmes, Habiba embarked on a sports course with the college and went on to study social care. Her dream was to combine social care and sports and to find long-term employment in this industry.

In 2020, Habiba found her passion in assisting people while she was studying a HNC in Additional Support Needs. Keen to learn more, in September 2021 she started a BA Hons in Integrated Health and Social Care at the University of the West of Scotland.

“The Prince’s Trust has changed my life drastically. Not only has my mental health improved, but I am now in a professional role. I feel like the future is mine and no one can take that away from me. I know that if I work hard, I will achieve whatever goal I set out to achieve. I know that the future is bright, and I know that I can inspire others. I couldn’t see my future before and now I have some work to do because I have things I want to achieve.”

The HSBC UK Breakthrough winner is... Cormac Doyle

“I felt like I had no purpose in life and I was excited to start something that I would enjoy as well as developing life skills.”

At college, Cormac had completed a HND in Engineering Systems. However, when he started to look for work, he struggled to find a fulfilling role and wasn’t able to fully put his passion for digital technology to use. After a while, he started to feel depressed and pessimistic about the future, and he didn’t believe that he could succeed.

Cormac, from Livingston, was told by his Universal Credit advisor about a Get into Data Science course that The Prince’s Trust was running in conjunction with West Lothian College. Despite his lack of self-confidence, Cormac excelled on the six-week course and in interacting with other young people.

Cormac said: “The process was very simple from being referred to starting the course. I got to develop new skills, but my mental health has also improved.

“At the beginning, I felt that I didn’t have anything useful to offer to a team. I was, and still am, dealing with depression, which caused a lack of energy in my day-to-day life. I also have Asperger’s, which makes it hard for me to understand some things, I was worried it would be hard for me to interact with others.

“I got to meet lots of new people on the course, the activities we did were fun and helped me to relax. The enthusiasm I felt for the subject also helped me to participate in group activities and make new friends.”

To help with Cormac’s confidence, staff at the Prince’s Trust organised an additional session with Mind-Set, a counselling organisation in Scotland. After the session, Cormac acknowledged that he had depression and was struggling with his confidence and to stay motivated. Cormac was then referred to Mind-Set for counselling and within a short space of time it began to have a positive impact on him. By the final week of The Prince’s Trust sessions, he was more confident, had a better perspective on the future, and openly stated that he felt more like himself than he had in a long time.

This new-found confidence led Cormac to apply and gain a place to do a HNC in Cyber Security, funded by The Prince’s Trust, at West Lothian College. He is applying for jobs and looking forward to finding a role in the digital tech sector.

Cormac added:

The Prince’s Trust has helped me to boost my confidence. They gave me the opportunity to learn a topic that I have really enjoyed and helped me to pursue that subject even after the course finished. I was provided with the tools, knowledge and support I needed to further my education.

The Homesense Young Achiever winner is... Olivia Blackburn

After overcoming health challenges and a disrupted education, Olivia, from Carnoustie, is now thriving as a healthcare support worker for the NHS – working in the same ward where her mum is receiving treatment.

“I never thought I would have so many options or a future with my dream career. When I think back to my time at school, it was really difficult for me. I had health conditions that weren’t under control, and I was awaiting major surgery on my jaw. I often had to miss classes for medical appointments or because I wasn’t well enough to attend.

“It got to a point where I decided to leave school early to focus on my health, even though I knew I may never be able to go to university or college due to my grades. Although I was upset, I accepted it.

“In March 2019, my mum fell ill, and this had a huge impact on me and my family, as we had already lost my dad to cancer. Although we were all able to support each other, it came as a shock.”

Despite these challenges, Olivia was determined to explore options that would help her to build her confidence and skills. After seeing an advert for a Prince’s Trust course run in partnership with NHS Scotland and Dundee & Angus College, Olivia decided to apply. The six-week course offered her the training and work experience she needed to start a career in the NHS.

Olivia flourished on the course, especially during her placement on a Gastroenterology ward. After completing the programme, she secured a job as a Healthcare Support Worker in the same Haematology Ward that is treating her mum, and she went on to gain a HNC Care and Administrative Practice qualification. Olivia is now in the second year of an adult nursing degree at Dundee University.

The Prince’s Trust and NHS have had a massive impact on my life - as soon as I started the course, I already saw a better future for myself. A future that I didn’t see before, having a career I would be proud of, and one I love.

"As soon as I saw a post for haematology, I knew it was where I wanted to work, it is such a specialised unit, an amazing team and I learn something every day.

“I’m really excited to be doing my nursing studies and I have so many forms of support around me. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for The Trust, Dundee and Angus College or the NHS.”