Dealing with her parents’ breakup and witnessing both struggle with depression whilst living in an unfamiliar area became an uphill battle that Emily began to lose.

Her shyness made it difficult for her to make friends and she was bullied about her looks and personality, both verbally and physically, for the rest of her school life.

As a result of the bullying and her circumstances at home, Emily became depressed and, during the darkest times, would self-harm. When she opened up about this to the few friends she did have, they accused her of attention seeking which further isolated her.

Throughout this, Emily’s relationship with her mum and her mum’s fiancé became strained and she moved back up to Colne to live with her dad when she was 17. On returning, however, she found that lots of her old friends were no longer around and she struggled with the classroom environment and soon dropped out of college. But, determined to make a fresh start, she was recommended to The Prince’s Trust and enrolled on the Fairbridge programme  - a personal development course that builds the confidence and employability skills of young people.

It enabled Emily to meet new people her own age and make the friends she was so desperately in need of.

Despite settling in well, Emily was a bit nervous when the L’Oréal sessions came around because she still lacked confidence and was worried about embarrassing herself in front of the group during activities, assuming she would say the wrong things during discussions.

However, as the activities progressed and particularly in the discussions about relationships, she began to relax and laugh, eventually finding confidence and conviction in her decision-making ability.

The biggest improvement for Emily came during the Employability session. At first, she could only think of one skill that she had that employers might want – customer service. But, after a discussion about everything she had achieved already on the Fairbridge programme and in life outside of The Prince’s Trust, she soon came up with a list of 10 skills she had that employers would want and that she felt comfortable explaining her experience in.

The difference in Emily between the beginning of this session and the end was immense. On her first attempt at a practice interview, she walked into the room with her head down, scurried to her seat, avoided eye contact with the interviewer, and blushed and fidgeted when she didn’t know the answer to a question.

By the end of the session, she knocked confidently, used positive, open body language and gave good eye contact and well-thought-out answers to every question.

Fairbridge Programme Executive Claire Critchley says:

Emily has changed drastically from when she first met The Prince’s Trust only a few weeks ago. The L’Oréal sessions have helped her to realise that she does have talents and attributes that people value in friendships as well as in the workplace.

Emily is now proactively looking to get into the hair and beauty industry.