Edinburgh College apprentice plumber Harrison Gibson was crowned Young Achiever of the Year by The Prince’s Trust on November 4th.
Harrison joined a host of finalists at The Prince’s trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards 2015-16 which honours young people who have overcome challenges to succeed.
Inspirational winners from across Scotland were chosen in recognition of their achievements against the odds, battling hardships such as homelessness, anxiety, depression and drug abuse.
Harrison, who is currently in his first year on the Modern Apprenticeship at college and an apprentice plumber at Miller Construction, turned his life around when he joined The Prince’s Trust’s Get Into Homebuilding programme in 2013.
Growing up in Canada he dealt with depression and anxiety, discouraged from learning by the bullying he faced at school. At the age of 14, he made the move to Scotland and was passed on to the Prince’s Trust through his local job centre.
He said: “I never dreamt that I’d end up in a trade. I thought the opportunity came and went long ago. The Get Into Homebuilding programme has been a life changer.”
“The Prince’s Trust have been absolutely tremendous from day one; between getting me back in college and helping me get an apprenticeship to start with.”
The Oscar-style awards ceremony was held at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh and Harrison took the stage with his family, lecturers and employers right behind him.
“When they called my name out it was an out of body experience. I wasn’t expecting to win it and when I did it was overwhelming. It’s amazing to be acknowledged for all the hard work I’ve put in.
“To get that positive feedback really means the world to me.”
Keith Swann, curriculum manager for carpentry, decorating and plumbing, said: “The change in Harrison’s confidence has been incredible; he’s come on so much he’s now mentoring other students. He deserves this award and I’m really proud of him.
“I hope many more people can benefit from the Get Into…programmes and our ongoing partnership with the Prince’s Trust.”
The Celebrate success process begins each summer when staff, volunteers, partners and supporters nominate exceptional young people. In each of the regions and countries, the Prince’s Trust judging panel selects finalists in seven award categories.
As a regional winner Harrison will now go on to the finals in London next year, where celebrity ambassadors will share his story with the world.
Hear more from Harrison and watch his winner’s video.