‘I never thought I was capable’ - Billy Harper turns life around with help from Prince’s Trust
PUBLISHED: 17:35 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:35 10 March 2018
Diagnosed with ADHD and suffering from depression, Billy Harper’s teenage years were difficult.
After getting in with the wrong crowd, he soon found himself being kicked out of college and left with nowhere to go.
But thanks to the Prince’s Trust - and through his own determination - Mr Harper, of Bunwell, near Attleborough, has turned his life around.
Now, the 20-year-old has secured full-time employment with Marks & Spencer (M&S) in Norwich and has hopes to rise through its ranks.
Mr Harper said he was bullied throughout his school and college years. Desperate to fit in, he then became involved with the wrong crowd.
“I was doing things I shouldn’t have been doing,” the former Diss High School student said. “I stopped going back [to college] after lunch and it meant I was not accepted into my second year.”
Mr Harper said he was left with “no job or anything to aim for” and decided to move in with his sister in Norwich.
Things started to improve after he was put in touch with the Prince’s Trust - a charity which helps young people find employment.
He was accepted onto a four-week bricklaying course at Norwich City College, which he said he enjoyed.
But Mr Harper said life on a building site was difficult. He added: “You have to be particularly thick-skinned to work on a site like that, and it just didn’t work out for me.”
Despite going through another rough patch, Mr Harper refused to give up and once again contacted the Prince’s Trust.
The charity put him on a four-week retail course at M&S in May 2016, and his life started to improve.
He was also given a development award to rent a moped, enabling him to get to the Rampant Horse Street store.
At the end of the course, he was offered a 12-week contract, which has since become a full-time position.
Currently a customer assistant, he hopes to later become a section co-ordinator.
Mr Harper won the Young Achiever of the Year award at The Prince’s Trust Awards in Norwich at the end of 2017.
He said: “I never thought I was ever capable of doing something like this. If it was not for the Prince’s Trust, I would not be here today.”