Despite being diagnosed suddenly with a neurological condition whilst doing his A-Levels, Louis continued to work hard, did well at school and got good grades.

“In 2018, I was diagnosed with a neurological condition, Dystonia, which affects my left arm and hand. It literally came on overnight – I woke up one morning to find my arm closing inwards and then it got worse. I was taking my A-levels at the time which was really stressful as I had to go to appointments and take time out.”

After deciding that university wasn’t for him, Louis started looking for apprenticeships. However, the Covid-19 pandemic then struck which made his job hunt much harder.

“It’s been difficult entering my twenties during the pandemic. I feel like I’m missing out on having carefree days and nights out with friends. We’re not allowed to have fun and everything seems so serious. I felt really confused and stranded when it first hit. I’ve definitely tried to limit my news intake now – it’s important to stay up to date but it can drag you down. Finding a job is hard enough when you leave school. With Covid-19, jobs seemed to disappear overnight. It was scary. I was trying to stay positive and came across The Prince’s Trust. I saw how they support young people into employment and noticed that they help people with disabilities.”

Louis signed up for the Get Started with Digital Marketing course, run virtually by The Prince’s Trust, in September 2020.

I thought it would just be another online course but it was amazing – we had two live teaching sessions via zoom every day which I found really engaging and the staff were very supportive. We did a lot of group exercises which brought people together and I was surprised by how close I became with other people on the course. We were also given mentors who helped us by sharing their own experiences.

“The pandemic had lowered my self-esteem and, with my disability on top of that, I wasn’t feeling very confident when I started the programme. I’d begun to question whether I would ever find a job but the course made me see that there were opportunities out there. A few months ago, I didn’t think that was the case. My confidence increased massively and it was reassuring to speak to other people who were in a similar situation.”

With support from industry mentors and The Prince’s Trust, Louis has recently secured a job at Manning Gottlieb as a Biddable Assistant.

After going on the Get Started programme, I felt much more confident going into an interview. It will be strange starting a job and working virtually but I’m excited. If I hadn’t got support from The Prince’s Trust, I think I’d still be searching for apprenticeships and struggling. I might even have applied to university and got down a totally different path.

“The Prince’s Trust has been very supportive throughout the whole journey. They were always keeping in touch, even after the course, offering more support with employment and extra interview practice. I can’t thank them enough.”