The sixth formers from year above me encouraged us to get work experience. I was scared about how long personal statement was! [4,000 characters] Access Aspiration gave an assembly in my school and I applied to nearly every opportunity they offered. I’ve done work experiences people dropped out from last minute. Twitter, BBC, MATCHESFASHION.COM, Hardly Ever Worn It – what all these businesses had in common was that people came from different walks of life. All team members would tell me they didn’t always have the confidence they have now, which was important for me to hear. Through experience I learnt about apprenticeships and other routes into work. Every experience I went to gave me more confidence.

I was good at sketching and drawing so I wanted to do something that will allow me to continue. I remember telling you that I wanted to do Architecture when I went for the first insight event at BBC! You guys found me a week-long work experience at Studio Sailern Architects a month later.

I learnt a lot of things from my mentor, Won. He pushed me to grow by being very honest. I realised all feedback I ever got was always very sugar-coated. At the end of the week I asked for more time and stayed for another week. I learnt practical skills like cutting materials for models, lighting for model photography, getting the right perspective to make a model look like a building. We worked on a design for an opera house.

Next summer I was confident to reach out to Studio Sailern directly. I got another week of work experience. I saw that I was listed as part of the team in a booklet about the opera house project! This experience made me stronger. Won made me think of reasons for why I want to pursue this career. He made me prove that I can do this. I got into University to study Interior Design and Environmental Architecture at Ravensbourne University in the same year.

I loved going to London for experiences that Access Aspiration provided. It was an eye opener. I discovered so many areas in my city I didn’t know of. I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to see the world. I was stuck in West London and spoke a street slang. You’ve built my confidence. They say whoever you surround yourself with, you become more like them. Through experiencing a work environment, I improved my vocabulary, my posture – I learnt how important it is. I came to London from Egypt 10 years ago, and now I’m well-spoken, stuck with this posh accent! (laughs)

A lot of people in my university didn’t get much work experience and they lack time management skills. I see a difference between me and them. I’ve learnt the value of tools and software available, I practiced time management in a working environment.

Access Aspiration can help young people find the right path for their future. I did wonder ‘what if I didn’t like it?’ – and I got a chance to see and reaffirm my choice.