Skills for Work student scoops Young Enterprise Award

NEWS: Young enterprise award

An 18-year-old who used to pull his hoodie over his head so that people wouldn’t speak to him has won a regional Young Enterprise Award.

Lee Grimes, a student at National Star College, won the Sir John Moore special achievement award for the South West.

It is in recognition of Lee’s personal development from a shy and nervous person to an outgoing and confident young man and managing director of National Star’s Young Enterprise company.

He received the award at a special ceremony at Wotton under Edge.

‘When Lee first arrived at National Star he was the most shy, quiet and nervous person I had ever met, partly from his experience of being badly bullied in his previous mainstream school,’ said James Garrod, Enterprise Developer at National Star.

‘He wore a hoodie at all times with the hood up to cover his face. He wouldn’t speak to anyone on his course and would not join in any activities.’

Lee, who uses a wheelchair, says hiding in his hoodie was his way of coping with bullying.

‘It started at my previous school. At lunchtime I would sit with my blazer over my head so that people wouldn’t talk to me and the bullies leave me alone,’ said Lee, who is from Gloucester.

‘I never felt included. That changed at National Star. There I was asked my opinion and encouraged to voice my concerns.’

He reluctantly agreed to be managing director of National Star’s Young Enterprise company – called PIP for Personal Image Printing – after being voted in by the team.

During the area Young Enterprise trade show Lee did something he never thought he could do – he took part in the Dragon’s Den presentation.

‘He presented perfectly and without any notes,’ said James. ‘After you could see how much the achievement meant to him.’

Lee, who is a Skills for Work student at National Star, is currently working two days a week in a placement at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. It is hoped that it will become a paying position when he leaves National Star in July.

‘All my life I thought that I had a disability and who in their right mind would hire me. I always used to put myself down. Now I think I can be independent and have my own life,’ he said.

Find out more about our Skills for Work programme.

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