THE BLOG

Why I Didn't Let My GCSE Results Define Me

20/08/2015 14:32 BST | Updated 20/08/2016 10:59 BST

I'm Kirsty. I'm a nationally recognised swimmer, a self-taught baker and I failed my GCSEs.

When I left school at 16 I felt lost and didn't know where to turn. I'd received just three GCSEs whilst my classmates were celebrating a stack of impressive A-C grades. I was bitterly disappointed and knew I could have done better. It was a time when I needed confidence in myself but instead I felt hopeless and alone. This was a stark contrast in comparison to what I'd felt in my years swimming competitively for the UK.

When I was two, I had my left leg amputated. By 14 I was swimming at a national level and determined to go even further. My studies took a back seat as I focused all my energy into pursuing my dream of a long term career in swimming. All of this was brought to an end when a serious diving injury meant I had to stop training and swimming altogether.

As I tried to come to terms with my injury, I refocused my efforts into education. When I received my exam results I hit a real low. My dreams of becoming an international swimmer were in tatters and now I was facing an uncertain future with a lack of qualifications. My confidence was crushed.

Deflated and unsure what to do next, I left school and started looking for work. I've always loved baking so while searching for jobs, I occupied myself by making celebration cakes for friends and family. I got some great feedback which made me look at my hobby in a different light. What if I could turn one of my passions into a business? Here's where The Prince's Trust came in.

I had no idea how to even begin making my business idea a reality until I approached The Trust. They pointed me towards The Prince's Trust Enterprise programme which helps young people aged 18-30 set up their own businesses. The programme boosted my self-esteem, my confidence and most importantly equipped me with the skills I needed to successfully run my own business. From devising a business plan right through to actually delivering it, The Trust has been with me every step of the way.

Bloory's Bakes has been up and running since the beginning of 2015 and I'm proud to say it's going from strength to strength. I love creating ideas with my customers and seeing their faces when they collect the finished product. I'm determined to grow the business even further and eventually I'd love to have my own tea room. Being self-employed isn't always easy but the transformation from being unemployed to owning my own business has been life-changing.

When I was at one of my lowest points, The Prince's Trust helped me see that my injury wasn't the end of my journey, it was just the beginning. With the right help, we can achieve anything.

Worried about your GCSE results? Join The Prince’s Trust and leading employers for a live webchat on Friday 21 August at princes-trust.org.uk/Webchat