A young man from the Capital has scooped a top award from a national charity.
Mathew Stachan won the Young Achiever Award at the Prince’s Trust Award’s ceremony held in Edinburgh. The awards recognise the achievements of disadvantaged young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life, and had a positive impact on their local community, as well as those who have played a part in supporting the work of the Prince’s Trust.
Mathew, 20, struggled at home and at school, where he had been physically and emotionally tormented by his peers.
He said: “I moved schools four times, but I was always dealing with bullying. I got out and left as soon as I could. I didn’t stick around for my exams.
“My doctor diagnosed me with anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. By that point, I’d already given up on my future, to the point where I lost my purpose and I didn’t want to be here anymore so I escaped through substance abuse.”
His Skills Development Scotland advisor suggested he went on Team, a 12-week programme from the Prince’s Trust that helps unemployed young people develop the confidence they need to find work.
When Team ended, Mathew enrolled on Get Into Customer Service, another Prince’s Trust programme, delivered in partnership with Aegon, which gives unemployed young people the skills they need to gain employment in the sector.
Mathew said: “I got a job with Aegon, but it didn’t work out because of personal problems but I learned a lot from this work environment.
“My anxiety returned then, so I went back to the Trust, worked on my CV and applied for a paid internship at Standard Life. I was one of 12 out of 200 selected to join.Standard Life has been amazing. My internship got extended and then they offered me an IT apprenticeship, which I love. I should even achieve a diploma in IT at the end of it.”
Mathew is now involved with Standard Life’s mental health initiatives, writes an internal blog about his personal mental health journey in the hope of encouraging more people to talk about their problems, and has been nominated for an Inspiration Award.
He said: “I struggle to think about where I would be if it wasn’t for the Prince’s Trust. They took me on and gave me the chance everyone deserves, even when I had so many problems and difficulties and they always wanted me to succeed.”
Sandy Macdonald, head of sustainability at Standard Life, said: “Every time Mathew has been faced with a challenge, he has found his way.
“His resourcefulness, values and courage mean he has created a path that no one in our business has ever travelled before. He deserves to have every bit of success that comes his way.”