Emma, 21, from Falkirk, is a carer for her parents and has struggled with her mental health after many years of being bullied at school left her with severe anxiety and low self-esteem.

After spotting an advert on Facebook for The Prince’s Trust, Emma started to take part in courses and her confidence improved so much that she successfully applied for a place at Stirling University to study Criminology.

She started out at The Trust by completing Explore which worked on her confidence and groupwork skills, she then completed her John Muir Award and took part in Girls Week. After being bullied by girls at school, Emma 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: “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. 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 would struggle to talk to strangers, she is now getting to grips with online group sessions that The Trust are running, and she is even beginning to make friendships with future classmates.

Emma added: “I’ve even started to take part in group video calls which I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do just a few months ago. I’ve really enjoyed these as it reminded me of the fun I had doing group work pre-lockdown.

“For the rest of lockdown I’m going to work on my employability and personal skills so I’m in a good place to start Stirling University later this year. I’ve also started to connect with future classmates online already which has made me really excited about starting the course again.”