Young women stun with success stories at Young Women’s Trust awards

26 February 2019

Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, recognised five young women who are smashing the glass ceiling at an awards ceremony held in partnership with ELLE UK Magazine in London on Tuesday 26 February.

The winners – including a 20 year-old legal apprentice who won a pay rise for her peers and a 24 year-old who overcame homelessness to land a job in the Houses of Parliament – show that women are breaking down barriers at all levels of work – not just at the top.

Leading businesswomen including Black British Business Awards founder Melanie Eusebe and ‘Little Black Book’ author Otegha Uwagba presented the young women with their awards and highlighted the huge hurdles young women still face in trying to find work that pays.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:  

“Each of these five women has, against the odds, achieved a huge amount both for themselves and to help others. The award nominations blew us away.

“We want to recognise women’s achievements at all levels of employment, not just those at the very top. We often talk about the glass ceiling but forget that there is a glass door, preventing huge numbers of young women getting jobs in the first place. It’s time that we recognised both the barriers that young women face in finding work and the success stories of those who are breaking down those barriers.

“These inspiring young women are just some examples of the difference young women are making to workplaces across the UK.”

Young Women’s Trust provides free career confidence coaching and a CV feedback service to women aged 18 to 30, which can be accessed by phone, text or online:


Inspiration award winner (sponsored by Standard Life Aberdeen): Mattea Sykes, 20, The Wirral

Wirral youth worker Mattea Sykes, 20, has been named a national “inspiration” after overcoming huge health obstacles to help others. Mattea’s health left her housebound and unable to attend school but her hard work and perseverance mean that, despite still being in constant pain, she is now working and volunteering to help young people in her local community, studying at university and caring for her mum. Through everything, she has maintained a positive attitude and helped to support others with chronic health conditions by sharing her experiences through her blog. Those around her say her love of her work “shines out of her”.

Apprentice award winner (sponsored by Wates Group): Georgie Yates, 20, Manchester

BBC legal apprentice Georgie Yates, 20, who lives in Chorlton, is the Young Women’s Trust ‘Apprentice of the Year’ after being instrumental in transforming the BBC’s apprenticeship scheme. Young Women’s Trust was impressed by Georgie’s passionate representations on the importance of being financially independent while training as an apprentice, having herself struggled to pay rent on a low wage.

Demonstrating strong leadership and advocacy skills, Georgie gave a compelling presentation to those at the top of the BBC on the difference a small pay rise could make to apprentices like her. Georgie did all of this while still managing to complete her paralegal apprenticeship a year early.

Trailblazer award winner (sponsored by Venn Group): Tara O’Reilly, 24, Brent

Tara grew up on London’s council estates and was made homeless before teaching herself A Levels, getting a job in Parliament and starting her law degree. Tara is blazing a trail by using her skills to help other young women to succeed. Having taught herself programming, she is now helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds to set up their own portfolio websites. She was also a mentor to other young leaders and is a trustee for a human rights charity.

Influencer award (sponsored by BEBOLD): Priscilla Casey, 22, Hayes

Priscilla Casey, 22, worked with Young Women’s Trust to transform her life after moving to a homeless hostel due to domestic abuse. She built her confidence, set up her own baking business and now works to empower other women. Priscilla runs events, sponsored and supported by high-profile brands, to bring young people together to connect, share advice and develop essential skills for success.

Everyday SHEro award (sponsored by Salesforce): Tayah Turay, 20, London

Tayah is Young Women’s Trust’s ‘Everyday SHEro’ for being a hero to those around her after caring for her mum, daughter and younger siblings, while battling poor mental health and pursuing her work dreams.

Tayah initially struggled when she became pregnant while studying and suffered from post-natal depression. Not long after, her mum’s health deteriorated, so Tayah stepped up to care for her mum and siblings. She put her own dreams on hold to support her family and often felt isolated. Tayah contacted Young Women’s Trust for support and has now made plans for her future, grown in confidence and taken steps towards getting her dream job as a police officer.

Notes to editor

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 18-30 in England and Wales trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don’t go to waste.
  2. The Young Women’s Trust Awards take place on Tuesday 26 February 2019 in central London. There will be a reception followed by a dinner. The awards will be presented by women business leaders during the dinner.
  3. Award winners were chosen by a panel of young women following an open nomination process. 99 nominations were received in total.
  4. Award winners will be available for interview in advance of the awards ceremony. Photos from the event can be provided on request. Please be aware that the media will not be able to attend the awards ceremony.