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The Watches of Switzerland Group Young Change Maker

Our Young Change Maker Award recognises young people who are inspiring others through their personal experience of turning their lives around.

An image of a young woman with ginger hair. She is wearing brightly coloured dungarees and is standing outside by a river.

"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.

About the sponsor

We would like to say a huge thank you to The Watches of Switzerland Group for sponsoring the Young Change Maker Award.

The Watches of Switzerland Group's support of The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awaards for the past eight years has made a real different to the lives of thousands of young people across the UK, inspiring and motivating young people to achieve their best in life.

Find out more about The Watches of Switzerland Group here.

About our media partner

Fearne Cotton's Happy Place podcast is our media partner for The Watches of Switzerland Young Change Maker Award, helping us to share Emma-May's story. Find out more here.