A Sheffield teenager who supports unemployed young people across South Yorkshire was given Royal approval for his efforts at a meeting with HRH the Prince of Wales.
Ash Rook, aged 19, was invited to St James Palace to meet the prince and a host of celebrities to celebrate a scheme set up to tackle youth unemployment.
He mingled with stars including musician Will.i.am, magician Dynamo and TV presenter Carol Vorderman.
Ash is one of 100 Prince’s Trust Job Ambassadors, whose positions were created when The Prince of Wales launched The Prince’s Trust Job Ambassadors scheme in response to high youth unemployment.
Job Ambassadors have all faced long-term unemployment themselves and now support other young jobseekers by helping them to improve their skills and find local jobs.
Musician Will.i.am said: “Having grown up in an economically disadvantaged area, I know how important it is for young people to have role models, people they can look up to, and also seek out for advice.
“The Job Ambassadors here today are doing an amazing job of inspiring young people in their communities, and providing support and encouragement that will help them to succeed in life.”
Ash, who found himself struggling to find work when his dream of joining the Army was shattered because of medical reasons, said: “I had a part time job in a cafe just to pay my way but the money ended up going on drinking and nights out. I drank to forget everything. Not getting into the Army was a huge blow and I was left with no direction in my life and not many qualifications.
“That’s when I started getting depressed. It was a struggle to even get out of bed in the morning and not something that I would ever like to go through again.”
Ash, from Doncaster, travels around South Yorkshire meeting young people unable to find work and points them in the right direction.
“This is a fantastic role and I love every second of it.
“To be able to help young people, who are going through the same thing that I was and letting them know that there is help out there is amazing.
“I think they trust me as I’ve been through the same thing.”