EIGHT months of Angela Piromalli’s year are dominated by the awards she organises to celebrate young people.

She is the founder of Rock Recruitment, from which she built the non-profit Rock Star Awards.

“I felt young people were getting a really bad press,” she said.

“I think it’s our job to showcase them and give them an opportunity, give them experience, connect them with business people and actually say ‘Well done’.

“It doesn’t have to be high achievers. It could be someone who’s got their GCSEs when they’ve had hardship.”

At the You Are the Media lunch club at Boscombe’s Shelley Theatre, Ms Piromalli said she was galvanised by a medical episode in which she almost lost her sight.

She had moved to Bournemouth as a 21-year-old single mother and “decided to start my life again”.

“I worked in a call centre doing outbound sales. It was hard but it put food on the table,” she said.

A recruitment agency landed her an interview at an estate agent – but when the recruiter saw the preparation she did, she was offered a job there too. “I had found my calling,” she said.

She was in line for a directorship, when “one morning I woke up and I had lost my sight”.

“I wasn’t blind but I couldn’t even make out the difference between my fingers.

“I went to an optician and got rushed into hospital straight away. It turned out I had type one diabetes. They didn’t know if my sight would come back.”

Her eyesight returned eventually, but the episode gave her “good thinking time”. She left her job and started Rock Recruitment, initially running it from home.

The Rock Star Awards honour young people who don’t always receive academic prizes, but have overcome difficulties . “I wasn’t good at school. It wasn’t my cup of tea,” she said.

The event has raised thousands of pounds for charity – although some assumed an ulterior motive.

“I thought everybody knew that I’m nice – and everybody thought it’s a good recruitment driver,” she said.

“I’ve always run it as a not-for-profit.”

She has already signed Bournemouth-based children’s food brand Organix to back the next Rock Star Awards, which are likely to place in early 2019 and be bigger than previously.

“This is the one thing in my professional life I’m most proud of,” she said.