My name is Alice W. Castle and I identify as a non-binary trans female. Despite having my gender assigned as male at birth, I’ve struggled with gender dysphoria and body dysmorphia for years.

That coupled with other mental health issues like clinical depression has meant that finding employment was tough. I have been unemployed most of my adult life. During that time, I found myself in interview after interview trying to explain to potential employers what it means for me to be trans.

But not everyone understood and it felt like a slap in the face to be called by a certain name or by a different gender.

My depression meant I was bedridden for about a year and a half. Despite doing well at my exams, there was no chance of me getting a job when I left school. I was crushed under the weight of my own mind. I went on Jobseeker's Allowance in the hope that they could help me push into the world, but unfortunately it didn’t work.

My confidence was at rock bottom and I felt that I would never be accepted for being trans. I struggled to move forward, and it only made my health worse.

Thankfully, I was put forward for The Prince's Trust's Get into Hospitality course and I immediately felt that they understood me. From the first interview, it was such an accepting environment and I was able to actually be myself for what felt like the first time in years.

I was finally able to use skills I always knew I had, but was never given the opportunity to show off. I was able to impress on a job placement at the Premier Inn, and I was over the moon when they offered me a job!

That experience helped turn my life around. I worked at the Premier Inn in varying positions for over a year and it boosted my social confidence to interact with people as Alice. I was able to be who I wanted to be and not told who I should be. I’m now a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and have had the opportunity to share my story with others in the hope that more people will be aware of the struggles young trans people are facing in the UK. It all comes down to acceptance and we can always do better and be better. I will always thank the Prince’s Trust for accepting me.

The Prince's Trust in Scotland is proud to be working towards achieving the LGBT Youth Scotland Charter of Rights Award. For more information click here.