A LEADERSHIP programme which aims to give more opportunities to young people in Bradford celebrated its participants with a special awards event yesterday.

Over 40 young adults who have taken part in the Future Ways programme - which has been delivered by Empowering Minds - attended the ceremony at City Hall.

The programme, which was open to young people aged between 18 and 30 across the Bradford district, helped to build confidence, leadership skills and give participants access to vital industry contacts.

“The event went really well”, said Sofia Mahmood MBE, the founder of Empowering Minds.

“45 young adults, from a wide range of backgrounds, have all been upskilled by Future Ways.

“It’s our job to invest in the next generation. If we create opportunities now, we are creating tomorrow’s success.

“Bradford has a very young population, and it’s our duty to provide them with opportunities.

“We have amazing talent in Bradford, we just need to continue investing in them. Future Ways is constantly supporting these young people and giving them a sense of direction

“As part of the project, we had three cohorts – one and two were very focussed on leadership itself, and on social and emotional intelligence, and ran for six weeks.

“Cohort three was 12 weeks and focussed on how we are trying to bring arts and culture into Bradford.”

Sofia added that Future Ways has helped its participants immensely.

“Our young people have moved on to various things”, she explained.

“Some have become national board members, some have gone into entrepreneurship, some have gone to university and some have found employment.

“One has been shortlisted for a Yorkshire Asian Young Achievers Award (YAYA) and another is up for a Community Stars award.

“It shows that if you give them opportunities and the chance to believe in themselves, they can go very far.

“We’re now looking at an alumni programme, so they can go and mentor other young people.

“Any young person coming from any ethnicity or background can achieve. I would say leadership is like a recipe – you have many different ingredients, and everyone contributes differently, but they all mix in the end and you all get a slice of the pie.

“The programme was only successful because our Future Ways team worked with a multitude of partners. We got results because it has been a collective approach.

“If people are interested in contacting us, they can do so at hello@empoweringminds.co.uk.”