Erica

Alumni

 

There is a lot of issues that young people living in London like me are facing. Generally, I think career guidance within schools is one of the biggest challenges yet to tackle. From my perspective it is one of the key causes for lack of social mobility.

Sixth form is a turbulent time. Balancing A-Levels, UCAS applications and figuring out what path to take – apprenticeship or university. You feel this growing pressure on making life plans, and at the time, I didn’t quite exactly get great careers advice.

Students were often encouraged to seek work experience on their own. I remember speaking to career adviser who said that it’s unlikely I would get an opportunity without prior experience in a given field.

Not having contacts makes this a very difficult process. I think working closely and developing within the education level is a good way to tackle social mobility. It enables younger people, including myself to learn to take leadership across and undertake opportunities the city has to offer.

As for that, I came across Access Aspiration as a portal to my career network provider. The programme itself helped me in making decisions, encouraging many youths around me to think about what they want to achieve. It boosts awareness by supporting London youths in realising their full potential and reach their future aspirations. It’s sometimes the smallest things that we put at the back of our minds that make a change.

Back in school I undertook law for A-Level, and I thought of pursuing the legal sector further. There were a few concerns that were highlighted to me when working in the legal industry. One of which, was the lack of equality, diversity and inclusion in the field. Hence, when you want to work in those kinds of industries you need a level of networks and contacts. I didn’t know of the alternative routes of getting in the legal sector, and so I thought the only way to go forward was to do a law degree.

I went on two insight days, at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Abstract Securities. Although Abstract Securities is not a legal firm but a property management business, the CEO who joined us at the event had a law degree. Through these experiences I learnt that careers are not set paths, that alone there is a huge variety of legal routes I could take. I gained a real enhanced perspective on what it’s like to be in a work environment; the working hours; the process of getting a job, and the required skills. By the end, I had found that there were some common interlinks between my two interests; law and geography.

I’m currently in 2nd year of university studying Human Geography, looking at the ways in which cultures, economies and societies make up our world through the past and present. Particularly, focusing on city regeneration and cultural identity issues such as social seclusion. I hope to continue on with further studies.

Through the course, I act as a volunteer for Access Aspiration and I take part of the Alumni students group. I recently supported an insight day at Brick Court Chambers. I helped with the event and ushered the students, but I also learnt about the differences between a barrister and a lawyer as well as balancing work with family life – that’s a topic that is not discussed enough with young people when they choose a career!

There is a lot of issues that young people living in London like me are facing. Generally, I think career guidance within schools is one of the biggest challenges yet to tackle. From my perspective it is one of the key causes for lack of social mobility.

I’m thankful for being involved in the programme. If I weren’t exposed to these experiences, I wouldn’t have gained a thorough understanding in the world of work.

I hope for a positive change in time with regular meetings involving current students and alumnis to really hear out their voices, gather ideas, and to react to challenges and grow together. It would be useful to listen to both sides and tailor a supportive community between students and businesses together. Making a change often starts off small.

Erica