A YOUNG girl who turned her life around with help from The Prince’s Trust was chosen to represent the North West at the youth charity’s star-studded youth forum, held in the capital on Friday.
Sarah, 21, of Ellesmere Port, was one of 23 young people from the trust chosen to ask questions at the forum, which saw singer Emeli Sande, Jameela Jamil, Laura Whitmore, rapper Wretch 32, Game of Thrones actor Ed Skrein, and actor and director Adam Deacon offer advice and inspiration to young people.
Sarah was tasked with quizzing the celebrity ambassadors on behalf of young people who are worried about this week’s GCSE results, struggling to find work or feeling hopeless about the future.
The celebrities shared their stories of how they have overcome the odds to achieve success in their careers.
The Youth Forum, supported by HSBC, was live streamed through The Prince’s Trust Facebook page, comes at a time when thousands of young people are waiting for exam results and making tough decisions about their next steps in life.
Almost a million young people across the UK are currently unemployed and more than one in ten feel hopeless about the future.
Sarah suffers with mental health issues such as self-harm and left school aged 16 with lows grades in her GCSEs.
Sarah said: “I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I left school and I was low in confidence but I loved animals and so I decided to go to college to study animal care.
“I managed to secure a job as a dog groomer which I loved but my stepfather who is in the army was transferred to Germany shortly after and decided to move with him.”
Sarah tried to find work but was unwell at the time and found it difficult to find employment that could work around that. After two years, Sarah moved back to the UK to live with her grandmother. She looked for work and applied for several jobs with no success.
She said: “After a series of job rejections my confidence was extremely low and I began to give up hope that I would ever be able to find a job.”
Sarah was directed towards The Prince’s Trust by her local Job Centre and there she applied for the Team programme a 12-week development course which aims to help young people find the skills, confidence and qualifications to get into work.
She said: “Team was such a turning point for me and I can’t describe how much it helped me. It supported me emotionally, gave me new skills, helped me with my CV and interview techniques and also allowed me to meet other unemployed young people in my situation who were able to give me support.
“Through the Team programme I also gained the contact that led me to the job that I have now, as an admin assistant with a local company. I absolutely love it. Having a job and something to work towards is such a great feeling and I would recommend anyone to get in touch with The Trust if they are worried about finding work.
“I know what it’s like to be worried about your future. That’s why it’s been great to be involved in the Youth Forum today. All of the ambassadors today have been so positive and they will hopefully have inspired many other young people out there to keep going and aim high.”
MTV presenter and Prince’s Trust Ambassador Laura Whitmore, who hosted the Youth Forum, said: “While today’s school leavers are facing the toughest job market in history – they should not give up hope.
“You can find your dream job or even start your own business with help from organisations like The Prince’s Trust – no matter what background you’ve had. Young ambassadors like Sarah show that you can always turn things around.”
Antonio Simoes, head of HSBC in the UK, said: "We know that with the right support and encouragement young people can achieve their goals and fulfil their potential, regardless of their start in life.
"To support this, this summer we announced our new Opportunity Partnership, working with four UK youth charities, including The Prince’s Trust, to help 25,000 disadvantaged young people into education, training and work, enabling them to make a contribution to their family, community and wider society.”