Georgia Hardie, 23 – who overcame a difficult childhood to turn her life around – has won The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever of the Year Award at The Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards.
The Prince's Trust Achiever of the Year Award shines the spotlight on one exceptional young person who has turned their life around with support from The Trust.
Hosted by Carol Vorderman, the Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards is packed with breathtaking stories of heroism and courage, uplifting and moving moments and hilarious celebrity surprises. Every year The Prince’s Trust award honours an exceptional young person who has turned their life around with help from the youth charity.
"I have a career that I love and I am in now in a position to also help others. I couldn’t believe it when they told me I’d won The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever award at Pride of Britain. The feeling is just incredible."
Homeless at the age of 11
Before getting help from The Prince’s Trust, Georgia was in a bad way. Family problems left Georgia homeless at the age of 11. She spent three years living secretly in her sister’s hostel, afraid of being separated, before moving into council accommodation at the age of 14.
"Being homeless at the age of 11 is pretty terrifying”, says Georgia. “You feel isolated and stressed – every day is full of worry.”
Things got even harder when Georgia moved into a hostel run by the council at the age of 14. She says: “It was a huge place, with 20 or 30 different rooms full of strangers, many of whom were much older than me and had serious issues with drugs and alcohol. On the first night, I sat in my room feeling terrified and alone.”
Life in the hostel was tough. Georgia worried about her things being stolen and wasn’t allowed friends to stay, so she felt lonely a lot of the time. She remembers the bathroom being so dirty that she had to spend an hour cleaning it just to be able to take a shower.
Unemployed with no job, no skills and no purpose
Without any emotional support, Georgia found school tough and she left with few qualifications. At 17, she was moved to a council flat in a deprived area of south west London and the terrible condition of her flat left her feeling vulnerable and isolated. It was at this point that Georgia hit rock bottom. She found herself unemployed with no job skills and no purpose except a desperate need to turn her life around.
She was referred to The Prince's Trust by her Centrepoint worker, and immediately signed up to the Get into Construction programme, which helps unemployed young people find a job in the construction industry.
An apprenticeship leading to a full-time job
Georgia showed great determination to succeed on the course, travelling three hours a day to get to and from the construction site. As the only female on her team, Georgia could easily have felt intimidated and discouraged to take part in the programme; however, she was enthusiastic and worked hard to gain her CSCS card, which is the key qualification needed to work on a construction site, as well as learning skills such as carpentry, plumbing and plastering.
Upon finishing, Georgia was offered work by two companies that were involved in the delivery of the course: Rydon and SDP Solutions. She received help from The Prince’s Trust to pay for travel costs to work and impressed her supervisors so much that she was offered an apprenticeship with SDP Solutions.
Today, she is employed by the firm as a full-time Site Manager working on various construction sites across London.
Since turning her life around, Georgia has become determined to be a positive role model in her community and make a difference to others. She now spends her own spare time volunteering with young people in her community, helping to run workshops that aim to bridge racial and religious barriers.
Georgia has also been a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, volunteering her time to help The Trust raise funds and inspire other young people with her story.