Each young person who has been nominated for a Prince's Trust Award has a unique story. Be inspired by our award winners.  

Young Achiever of the Year

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

Katie Smith

“Having ADHD, dyslexia and dyscalculia made school difficult, and having mental health issues and a personality disorder meant my behaviour was unpredictable.  I was excluded multiple times and ended up leaving education without any qualifications.

“I was unemployed for a long time and was feeling really disappointed at myself.  At 24-years-old and didn’t feel like I had achieved anything in my life and was desperate for things to change.

“Through Talent Match Leicestershire I was referred onto Get Stated with Football. I really enjoyed the programme and it made me realise that I thrive when I’m outdoors and active. I continued to work with my mentor and we discussed what sorts of careers would suit my strengths and passions and a three day course in bricklaying was arranged at a college.

“I loved the course and shortly afterwards applied for an apprenticeship in bricklaying and was Jelson's first female bricklaying apprentice in 28 years. That was four years ago and I still love everything about my job.

“I’m now a qualified bricklayer with my Level 2 in Bricklaying and am working with Jelson and hope to do my Level 3 and Site Management qualifications later this year.
“I feel empowered and in control of my life for the first time in a long time. I’m no longer taking drugs and I have my own flat. I’m feeling really positive about the future I’d love to set up my own women-only construction company one day!”

Katie is a truly inspiring young woman and is a very deserving winner of the Central Young Achiever Award. She should be very proud and we’re sure she will continue to thrive. Well done Katie!

- Louise Greenlees, President, TK Maxx and Homesense

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Breakthrough Award 

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

Kieran Egan

Kieran is wearing a light blue shirt with a navy blue blazer. He is holding his awards  which is sliver and has a red star on it.

"I was homeless and had been unemployed for six months. I was arrested a few years earlier for football hooliganism and I believed this was deterring employers from giving me a chance which made me feel ashamed of my past.

“I was taking drugs and felt like I wasn’t ever going to get anywhere when I was also diagnosed with depression.

“I was referred on to The Prince’s Trust Team programme and it was here that things started to change.

"I felt motivated for the first time in years and put all of my energy into the programme. I made friends and improved my lifestyle choices and felt I had something to get up for every day.

“My passion for football led me to approach my local club for work experience which I was offered the chance to shadow the manager and given the responsibility of organising a charity football match raising over £3,000 which was an incredible achievement.

“I now have a job and I volunteer on the Team programme. I’m studying at college for a sports leadership qualification and can see a career for myself doing something I love. I’ve stopped taking drugs and my future is looking so much brighter now thanks to The Prince’s Trust.”

The HSBC UK Breakthrough Award recognises the outstanding progress of young people who have overcome extraordinary challenges to develop new skills and reach their potential. Kieran is the incredibly worthy winner of this year’s award. Congratulations Kieran.

- Ian Stuart, CEO, HSBC UK

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Young Ambassador of the Year

The Mappin & Webb Young Ambassador Award 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.

Adam Morter

Adam wear a grey suit holding up his silver rectangle award with a Prince

“Life at home was difficult growing up – alcohol and violence were ever present and I was not supported by those who should have cared for me the most. Some family members struggled to accept my sexuality and I ended up homeless and feeling isolated.

“School was also a challenge and this, coupled with what was going on at home, meant that I didn’t get the grades I was predicted. In addition, limited work experience meant I found it really hard to get a job.

“Through the JobCentre I was referred to a Taster Day for ‘Make Your Mark’, a Get into Retail programme from The Prince’s Trust, run in partnership with Marks & Spencer (M&S).

“The programme gave me confidence I didn’t know I had and the stepping stones I needed in order to flourish and progress into a career in retail. While with M&S I progressed from Customer Assistant to Section Co-ordinator and Customer Service Champion and was nominated as a Colleague Forum Representative.

“I had gone from one of the lowest points in my life to feeling full of positivity and excitement for the future. I was then asked to be a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust which has been an enormous privilege and I’ve been able to share the story of my journey with The Trust at over 25 events.

“The Prince’s Trust has turned my life around and opened so many doors for me. I’m still working in retail and hospitality and I’ve become involved with other projects including: Leaders Unlocked, a social enterprise helping other young people; the Norfolk Police and Crime Youth Association; Rotary International; and Pride.

“I literally wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of The Prince’s Trust.”

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Enterprise Award 

The NatWest Enterprise Award recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or a community or social enterprise.

Donna Bridgewater

Donna is wearing eye glasses with a black dress smiling while holding silver rectangle award with a Prince

"At school I struggled with reading, writing and my speech; it affected my confidence and my ability to communicate. I was at the bottom of my class for everything - the whole schooling process was physically and emotionally draining.

“When I finally made it to university to study photography, my lecturer noticed I was struggling with assignments and referred me to a specialist. I was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and severe Irlen syndrome, a condition that affects my brain’s ability to process visual information. It was a relief to finally know what was wrong.

"After university I studied for a teaching diploma and got a job at a college for people with disabilities, but the hours didn't give me the financial stability I needed, so I began toying with the idea of starting my own photography business.

“A friend suggested I should sign up to Enterprise, an intensive programme from The Prince's Trust that helps young people start up in business.

"The programme gave me the confidence to just go for it and now I not only run my own photography business, Bridgewater Photography, but I also teach photography to special needs students at the college where I work.

"My life is so fulfilling. I am stronger as a person and I am proud of what I'm achieving for myself and for others. I want to open my own studio and invest in a photo booth so I can branch out into parties and events and be in a position to offer more work placements to young photographers with special needs.”

For 18 years NatWest has worked in partnership with The Prince’s Trust through its Enterprise programme. Together we celebrate young people’s entrepreneurial spirit and help turn their ideas into a sustainable business or social enterprise. We are proud to sponsor the Enterprise Award and recognise those who have overcome significant challenges in their path to success. Donna truly deserves this award and we wish her a very bright future.

- Janat Hulston, Chair of NatWest's Midlands and East Regional Board

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Rising Star Award

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

Ellie Turner

Ellie is wearing a black dress smiling while holding silver rectangle award with a Prince

"Without really realising, I'd gone from one bad relationship to another. My partners were addicts and I started stealing from my parents to buy drugs as I too had become addicted. My relationship with my parents had broken down and I ended up homeless, sleeping rough and eating at soup kitchens just to stay alive.

“When I dropped out of university because of my addiction, I realised what a mistake I had made.

"I started using a drug support agency and got clean within the first two weeks of Team.  I liked being around the other young people, too, especially as they ended up becoming such a strong support network for me that near the end of the programme I felt able to stay off drugs without the agency’s help.

"Team changed my outlook on life and showed me how to cope with different situations. I made friends for life, and started an apprenticeship with Waterloo Housing and saved enough of my wages to buy a car. I'm now working at Birmingham University. I volunteer at a homeless centre in my spare time and I'm pleased to say that my relationship with my parents is much better, too.

"I could easily still be using and living on the streets in a controlling relationship, but because of PC Simms and The Prince's Trust, I'm clean, employed, saving to go travelling and confident about making my own life choices."

The IHN Rising Star award recognises incredible young people, like Ellie, who have overcome significant barriers in their lives to achieve success. IHN is delighted to honour such courageous and determined young people who, with the right support, have proven that they have what it takes to change their lives for the better.

- Liz Foster, Chairman at IHN

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Community Impact Award

The Hadley Group Community Impact Award recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.

Hidden Talent

10 members of the Hadley Group which includes nine males and one female. One member is holding the silver rectangle award with a Prince

"Before coming to Talent Match, we had all faced long-term unemployment because of our own hidden disabilities and health conditions, and wanted to make sure other young people like us didn't experience the same issues we had.

“One of the key issues we wanted to tackle was the understanding of the needs of young people with hidden conditions like mental health problems, school exclusion, homelessness and offending.

“We decided we needed to re-evaluate the Talent Match model to better support young people. We invited 20 delivery partners to submit innovative proposals that would improve young people's chances of finding work and commissioned programmes based on these.

"We created training for the Department of Work and Pensions' work coaches which has been rolled out across job centres in Leicestershire and created materials for employers and professionals to use to help them support young people. We also made a short animation about hidden conditions.

"Through what we've achieved, we've grown personally and professionally. Two of us have become members of the County Council's equalities challenge group, and many of us have secured work which had been almost impossible before we started. More importantly, we hope to have laid the foundations for an easier transition to work for disabled job seekers of the future." 

On behalf of everyone at Hadley Group, I would like to congratulate the Hidden Talent team for winning such a prestigious award. Their work has made a significant impact in their local community and every single member of the group should be extremely proud of what they’ve achieved both as individuals and together as a team.

- Stewart Towe, Group Executive Chairman at Hadley Group

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Educational Achiever of the Year

The Ascential Educational Achiever Award recognises young people who have overcome barriers, developed new skills and improved their education prospects.

Leo Leake

Leo is wearing a white shirt with a grey blazer. He is holding his sliver award that has a red Princes Trust star on it.

“I struggled throughout school with behavioural and emotional difficulties, which left me on the brink of permanent exclusion.

“Things took a turn for the worse when I was admitted to hospital after I attempted to take my own life. This meant that I missed a lot of school, and it was when I returned to school and started the Achieve programme, that things started to change for me.”

"Achieve isn't like going to normal school. It's more relaxed and the staff sit down with you and help you set goals and mould your work around what you like and what you're good at.

“I learned how to cook and how to manage money; and I grew to trust the staff, which meant that I felt comfortable talking to them and opening up to them.

“Through Achieve my attendance improved dramatically, I was much more engaged at school and I was able to obtain a qualification and sit my GCSEs. The programme also allowed me to focus on art, which is something I’m really passionate about and have secured a place at college to study it in Autumn.

"I can see a clear pathway for me now, because I know that succeeding in life isn't about dwelling on the past, it’s about focusing on the future."

We’re honoured to present the Central Educational Achiever award to Leo this year. He should be proud of his progress and what he has achieved. We wish him every success for the future.

- Natasha Christie- Miller, CEO, Ascential Intelligence

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