I only recently realised how my school in Croydon has struggled with funding. Only the Y10 obligatory work experience was arranged by the school.
When Access came to my school, I signed up for the programme straight away, on that afternoon. I am so glad that I did that, because being a part of the programme throughout my sixth form allowed me to make the most out of the opportunities available. I had a mock interview with a Technical Specialist from the Bank of England, I attended two business insights and obtained a work experience placement. These opportunities really helped to set my CV and personal statement apart from the other students in my sixth form.
Yesterday I found out I got in to study Media and Communications at Sussex University! I wanted to get to that university since I can remember. I currently work in two part-time jobs, which I plan to keep during uni. I’m a freelance photographer too – so I run my own little business on the side. This involves portrait shoot services, selling prints and extra bonuses like my exhibition which run this summer at the Clocktower Café in Croydon.
Thoughts on your experiences; mock interviewing session, BBC insight, speed networking at Twitter and work experience at Marie Claire.
I feel Access has played an important part in helping me get the part time jobs I have. I have been looking for a job since I was about 15, which usually involved awkwardly dropping my CV in shops and running away. My mock interview has given me the confidence to write a personal statement and really apply myself to what was out there. I ended up getting two jobs on the dame day – a receptionist position at the NHS and a social media manager for a local shop, which I chose to go for. Their channels have 25k followers so it’s a great experience for me, now I also work as a shop assistant to save up for uni.
Places such as the BBC or Twitter seemed to me very much behind closed doors. Even walking through an open space, passing people with the coolest jobs – in my opinion – was very motivating. Attending insight days at both companies really opened my eyes and left me thinking, ‘I want to be who he is’.
I very much liked the format of the speed networking event at Twitter. Business networking events are very much outside of my comfort zone as an introvert. I would normally stand in the corner sipping my drink, not really getting much out of it. At Twitter, everyone sat together and chatted which made me feel really comfortable. I particularly remember Andy Piper, who worked as a software developer. He was kind and gave me good advice. The carousel of people gathered on this networking event gave me an understanding of the breadth of the opportunities in digital and made me realise it’s the right path for me.
My work experience at Marie Clarie has helped me to realise what I don’t want to do, and that office based work in a publishing company isn’t for me. It was great to learn that then, because I originally I planned on applying to university to study publishing. My placement mentor sat down with me to talk about my interests. I asked if there is a job combining my interests in photography and publishing. She organised a meeting with two art directors for me to learn more about their job. This experience helped me re-define my interests.
Thoughts on Alumni group
It’s really cool that thanks to the alumni group I get to still be a part of Access. I want to take social action, so it was good to learn about the work the Mayor’s Fund for London is doing. My dissertation concerns inclusive learning, particularly in the context of LGBT history missing from subjects such as English literature, history or RSE. There are a lot of social issues and a lot of organisations tackling them, but it seems like a lot of them work in their own silos. I’m glad Access Aspiration came under the Mayor’s Fund umbrella and tackles multiple issues across their programmes. Communication is important to tackle more than one issue at once.