New awards scheme will recognise young people who have overcome deprivation and disadvantage

A brand new awards scheme will recognise young people aged 16-30 who have overcome deprivation and disadvantage to make their way in the world.

The Yorkshire Asian Young Achievers Awards – known as The YAYAs – is open to any young person of South Asian heritage (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi etc) who was born in, or lives and works in, Yorkshire.

The awards are aimed at those socially-mobile young achievers who have overcome deprivation and disadvantage or have broken through traditional barriers to progress and have the potential to be role models who can inspire others to follow them.

Working in association with their headline partners, York St John University, the YAYAs are being organised by the Bradford-based QED Foundation, a registered charity which exists to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with public, private and civil society organisations. It has been creating opportunities for all since 1990.

Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, chief executive of QED, said: “Yorkshire is the big beating heart of the Northern Powerhouse with more than 600,000 BME residents, the vast majority of whom are of South Asian origin.

Dr Mohammed Ali, Founder and Chief Executive of QED

“Statistics show young people of South Asian origin in Yorkshire continue to struggle to overcome disadvantages in making their way in the world, be that in education, employment or social mobility generally.

“But we know there are many dynamic, hard-working young people achieving great things in the Yorkshire business community and, to celebrate our 30th anniversary, we decided to launch the awards to bring their efforts to the fore.

“In all categories, we are seeking to recognise success and effort in overcoming challenges and barriers to progress, be they social, economic, personal or simply the result of traditional or historical attitudes or circumstances.

“In each area, we’re looking for beacons of success and achievement who can inspire others and be the role models that the young people who follow them can aspire to become and even overshadow.”

The award categories include Achievement in School or College; Health/Mental Health and Healthcare; The Arts & Creative industries; Business, Management, Finance or Law; Media; Education; the Public Sector; the Not-for-Profit Sector; Female Achievement in Traditionally Male Work Areas; Achievement as a Female Entrepreneur; Sport; and Achievement in Overcoming Life Obstacles.

Rob Hickey, Chief Operating Officer, of York St John University

Rob Hickey, chief operating officer at York St John University, said: “York St John University are proudly supporting the YAYAs as we see the importance of recognising excellence. The YAYAs highlight examples of personal endeavour, selfless determination and breaking barriers; qualities which we value and look to replicate in what we do. We are certain that the YAYA awards will grow and develop over coming years and we look forward to supporting their journey.”

The inaugural YAYA awards will be presented at a glittering dinner on Tuesday 2nd April at the Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford.

The closing date for nominations is Monday 3rd February 2020.
Details of how to enter the YAYAs can be found at: or via


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