Marcus, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, started to feel ill and needed to go to the toilet more than usual. As the weeks went on his condition became much worse and he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.

“My condition affected me every day; I just felt rotten. I was 16 and I wanted to continue my education, but I was hospitalised and then put on medication. My mum and dad have always been supportive and when I said I really couldn’t go on, they knew I was telling the truth.”

After a few months, Marcus felt better and started applying for administrative jobs. He’d get called for interview, and then rejected. His mother, Ana, went to see Marcus’ care worker at his school, Michelle McDonald.

Michelle was one of the few people willing to listen to what Marcus had to say about his interests and ambitions. Michelle’s solution was The Prince’s Trust Get Started with Robotics course, a week-long STEM programme for unemployed young people to develop their skills through practical activities, giving them the confidence and motivation to move forward with their lives.

We were challenged to create our own robots and battle them against each other. It was just like the TV programme Robot Wars, with four teams competing. My team came second which was great.

At the end of the week, on Marcus’s 17th birthday, there was a final celebration to award the group their Level 1 qualification certificates, and for Marcus the birthday cake made by his team was the cherry on top.

On a real high after completing the programme, he pushed himself and enrolled on a BTEC course at a local college. But, after 10 weeks it was all too much and his condition prevailed.

Ana, could see how frustrated her son was. It is difficult, when you want something badly, to accept your limitations. She knew Marcus wanted to develop his knowledge following the robotics course.

She went back to the careers adviser who recommended that Marcus did a Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) course. It was a private course and the family started Marcus on it to see how things went.

He loved learning about the intricacies of electrical goods and how to test the safety mechanisms of industrial appliances.

It’s a bit like being an electrician; I test appliances’ safety. I’m nearly 18 and I’m very pleased with what I’ve learnt on my courses. Even my sister thinks I’m a good role model!

But then the money ran out and again Ana turned to Michelle for advice. Michelle approached The Prince’s Trust for financial help so Marcus could finish the 12-week course. This was given, and now it’s where the 18-year-old sees his future!

“I’m exploring the thought of starting my own business, and I have The Prince’s Trust to thank for influencing my life and introducing me to something I’m really good at.”