I was thrilled to be invited to speak as a witness at the Pearson Forum. I am currently studying a Level 3 Business Administration apprentice at New Schools Network, arranged and delivered through Multiverse. The placement was arranged during COVID-19. The experience meant I was able to share with the Forum what helped me to make that change and how I think other people in my position could be best supported.
The environment I found myself in during the pandemic gave me the time to reflect on what I wanted from my career. I used it to move from training to be a chef to starting a new career I knew I would enjoy. The first key challenge I came across was that I did not know enough about apprenticeships. I was always given the impression that university was the obvious next step after school, yet I knew it wasn’t for me. Once I started looking, I found so many resources that are out there to help young people. I don’t think young people are made aware of these options though. They need to be to ensure we provide everyone with the best chance they can to succeed. The second main challenge was that I did not feel I had the skills I needed to be able to sell myself in the workplace – to 'show off' in that way. I knew I had valuable transferable skills, but I did not have the confidence to talk to professionals for example. Through my apprenticeship I have developed this, but it would have been useful to have these opportunities earlier. I have the confidence now to know that I bring something different and valuable to the workplace – I know for example what the next generation want out of a business – and it is rewarding to be making an impact.
I've joined the Community Leadership Programme at Multiverse as an Outreach Leader. This means I visit schools, colleges, charities and other youth organisations to make sure other young people know of the range of opportunities out there and to talk about what they can offer young people who, like me, would find this an exciting route to follow. It’s all about different options. There is not just one route to success.