Former Highbury College student Jay Kelly picked up a top national accolade from HRH The Prince of Wales at a star-studded ceremony at The Palladium in London on Wednesday 13th March 2019 after overcoming mental health issues and home difficulties.

Jay wins national award

He scooped the prestigious Ascential Education Achiever Award at the glittering event hosted by TV favourites Fearne Cotton and Phillip Schofield and attended by a host of celebrities including actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, Olympic boxing champ Nicola Adams and comedian Michael McIntyre.

Jay, 21, from Waterlooville, is now working towards his dream future having taken part in The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme, where he gained a qualification, became a volunteer, and went on to study an Access to Health and Human Sciences course at Highbury.

He said: “Highbury has a really nice atmosphere. I would 100 per cent recommend it to others. I struggled at times but my tutors and other staff really supported me. I love Highbury. I made a lot of friends, it was lovely. My course was stressful but it does set you up perfectly for university.”

Jay suffered from mental health issues and difficulties at home when he came out as transgender, resulting in him going from a straight A* student to barely attending school.

He didn’t get the grades he wanted at GCSE, and when he was studying to retake them, his mental health deteriorated.

But Jay is now on a path he never dreamed he’d be on as he’s studying Mental Health nursing at university in London.

On winning the Ascential Education Achiever Award, he added: “Being given this award is amazing. I had read all the other nominees’ stories, and it’s such an honour for me to win this. Everyone was so deserving.

“It's come at the best time for me, as my mental health will never be perfect, and it has given me another push to do my best in this course and in my life, not just for myself but for everyone who has supported me, including the Prince’s Trust, who I will never be able to thank enough.”

The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards recognise young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.

Prince’s Trust courses run throughout the year with the next course at Highbury College starting in May. Find out more here.

Applications are currently open for Access to Higher Education starting this September. Find out more here.

Article Details

  • Date 14/03/2019