A Girvan woman who at one stage in her life was struck by depression and had no job and no home has completed a remarkable turnaround.
Caitlin Ross, 23, was a recent winner at the Princes Trust Awards in Glasgow after turning her life around.
Caitlin picked up the Arnold Clark sponsored Flying Star Award in a ceremony in Glasgow after she secured employment at Trump Turnberry as a telephone operator at the luxury resort.
Upon receiving the award Caitlin said: “I am absolutely over the moon at receiving the Arnold Clark Flying Start Award.
“I couldn’t believe it when they called my name – I was up against two very worthy competitors, so it was a real surprise to hear my name.
“Thanks to The Prince’s Trust and my current employer, Trump Turnberry, I have a job that I enjoy that also has a great degree of potential for me.
“I’m now looking forward to having the opportunity of going to London in March for the national finals.”
But it was all so different for Caitlin when depression struck her when she was all set to take up a place in a college course in complimentary therapy.
She lost her place and became unrecognisable from the bubbly and positive person her friends knew.
Caitlin said: “Some days I just didn’t want to live.
“All the confidence I had drained out of me and I had no idea what to do.”
However, her luck changed when she mentioned in a meeting with her Jobcentre advisor that she was enjoying volunteering in a kitchen at a day centre for people with mental health issues.
Her job advisor mentioned that she should look at the Get Into Hospitality course run by the Prince’s Trust at Dumfries House estate in Cumnock.
And since then Caitlin has never looked back.
On the course she learned skills including preparing and serving food, pouring wine and planning a graduation dinner.
During her time on the course, Caitlin spent six days on work experience at the Trump Turnberry Hotel and gradually she found her self-doubt was beginning to go away.
Weeks after her work experience, Caitlin was invited by Trump Turnberry for an interview and they offered her a job as a switchboard operator with staff accomodation.
Six months later she was promoted to receptionist and Caitlin is now working towards opportunities in properties overseas.
Caitlin said: “Having people at The Prince’s Trust believe in me gave me the push I needed to come out of my shell and realise things could get better for me after all. It was such a relief.
“If it hadn’t been for The Prince’s Trust, I might still be down and out and looking for work. Now I’m always smiling and I’m proud to be me – I never thought I would ever say that again.”
Eddie Hawthorne, Managing Director at Arnold Clark said: “Caitlin has faced some great personal challenges but we are delighted to congratulate her on her fantastic achievements and for winning this year’s Flying Start Award.”