Faisal’s fought back to win Prince’s Trust award

Faisal Ahmed receives his award from Alesha Dixon. Picture: Holly Wren Photography

Faisal Ahmed receives his award from Alesha Dixon. Picture: Holly Wren Photography

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A HEALTH worker whose long-lost mum died just weeks after he tracked her down has been given the royal seal of approval.

Faisal Ahmed, who works at the Western General Hospital, picked up the Delta Airlines Rising Star award at the Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards.

He rubbed shoulders with the likes of Princes Charles, Alesha Dixon, Tom Hardy, Rita Ora and Bear Grylls during the ceremony in London, which was hosted by Ant and Dec.

The award recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in full-time employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.

Faisal, 25, faced a traumatic childhood, arriving in Scotland at the age of seven from Bangladesh, speaking no English, which led to years of racist bullying.

At the age of 21, he discovered that his mother was actually his stepmother. When he tracked down his birth mother in the Capital, he discovered she was misusing drink and drugs and had mental health problems. Only two weeks later, she died in a fire sparked by a discarded cigarette.

Inspired by the nurses who helped his mum, Faisal completed the Prince’s Trust Get into Health programme, which helps young people gain skills and experience to get a job in the health sector.

A hit with the patients, NHS Lothian had no hesitation in offering him a job. Now working at the Western as a domestic support service assistant, he has his sights set firmly on a career in mental health.

Faisal said: “I didn’t think I’d make it this far and to win is an incredible feeling. A huge thank you to everyone at the Prince’s Trust who have helped me on this journey.”

He landed a place in the UK final at the Palladium in London after winning the KPMG Rising Star in Scotland award in November. Nat Pieper, from award sponsor Delta Airlines, said: “I congratulate Faisal on winning the Rising Star award. I have been hugely impressed by his achievements.

“Faisal is a great role model for other young people and epitomises what can be achieved when you have the drive to succeed and the right support network behind you.”

The Prince’s Trust is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. In the last four decades, it has given more than 825,000 disadvantaged young people the skills and confidence to find a job. Three in four young people helped by The Prince’s Trust move into work, training or education.

newsen@edinburghnews.com

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