SUCCESSFUL young people from across Yorkshire will be vying for the first Yorkshire Asian Young Achievers awards on Wednesday.

Thirty-eight candidates – many of them from Bradford – have been shortlisted for the 13 awards – dubbed the YAYAs – after a huge number of entries from across the county.

The winners will be announced during a virtual online event which starts at 7pm.

It is open to anyone to view online at yaya2020.sparq.me.uk.

Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, founder and chief executive of the Bradford-based QED Foundation, which launched the awards scheme to mark its 30th anniversary, said: “It’s a great shame that the pandemic put paid to our plans to stage a lavish awards dinner but we have worked extremely hard to ensure that this online broadcast will be a fabulous event and a worthy showcase for the brilliant candidates.

“There are many truly humbling stories of young people overcoming difficult circumstances to carve out a future for themselves and I can promise you the webcast event will be the perfect antidote to a dark and gloomy lockdown evening!”

“I am sure viewers will come away feeling inspired and uplifted by these remarkable young people who offer a beacon of hope for a brighter post-Covid future.”

The event will be hosted by the award-winning BBC TV and Radio presenter and stand-up comedian Noreen Khan.

The YAYAs are open to any young person of South Asian heritage – Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi etc – who was born in, lives or works in Yorkshire.

They 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 have been organised by the Bradford-based QED Foundation, a registered charity which has worked to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities since 1990. in partnership with public, private and civil society organisations. It has been creating opportunities for all since 1990.

 

Dr Ali OBE said: “Yorkshire has more than 600,000 BAME residents, the vast majority of whom are of South Asian origin, but statistics show they continue to struggle to overcome disadvantages in making their way in the world, be that in education, employment or social mobility generally.

“But there are many dynamic, hard-working young people achieving great things in Yorkshire and we wanted to recognise their 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.”

The award categories include Achievement in School or College; Health/Mental Health and Healthcare; The Arts & Creative industries; Business, Management, Finance or Law; Media (sponsored by LOCALiQ, the digital arm of the Telegraph & Argus); 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. They will culminate in the award of the overall Young Achiever of the Year 2020 title.

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.”

Sponsors and supporters of the awards include: The RAF, the National Science & Media Museum, Barnardo’s, KCB, the University of Bradford, NatWest bank, Bradford Council, Trinity College London, Squire Patton Boggs, the University of York, Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, Exa Networks, Sovereign Health Care, Cedar Court Hotels, My Lahore, Banner, BITE and One Stop.