A Sheffield man scooped an award after being among 200 young people from across the country invited to a ceremony hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Mark O’Reilly attended the Opening Doors Business Awards where he won the Inspirational Young Person honour.
The 25-year-old started his career working in a shopping centre in Doncaster. But when he was made redundant, despite applying for dozens of jobs every week, Mark found himself out of work for nine months.
Determined not to rely on state benefits, he signed up for the Job Centre Plus Service Academy and landed two weeks’ work experience with McDonald’s in Sheffield.
After completing work experience, Mark was offered a full-time position in July 2011. Shortly afterwards, he enrolled on the apprenticeship programme and gained an intermediate apprenticeship qualification in hospitality and catering.
He has since taken adult literacy and numeracy training.
Last spring, Mark was a McDonald’s Employee of the Year 2012 winner - and now hopes to become a restaurant manager.
Mark said: “My message to other youngsters in the same boat?
“Stick at it because there’s something better around the corner if you look for it. Look into everything and you’ll reap rewards. A positive attitude is your most important quality.”