Where did you grow up? What was it like?
I grew up on the Old Kent Road, London. My school, Walworth (later Walworth Academy), was one of the most under-performing schools in the borough. I was at school during the recession, which definitely highlighted inequality and poverty within the inner-city of London.
Growing up was fine for the most part. I had a lot of friends, I was top-set for classes and was involved in the sports teams, but my school was located between 2 notorious estates in South London and so witnessing crime was very much part of growing up. Muggings and stabbings were pretty normal. One of my friends was stabbed and killed just before he was due to start on the same programme as me with Arrival Education.
How old were you when you started working with Arrival Education?
I was in year 10, aged 14, when I started with Arrival Education. I was just about to start my GCSEs.
What has been the impact on you and your life after working with us?
Growing up in such a setting meant I lived in a bubble. My world stretched from Elephant & Castle to New Cross and back again. I had people around me who had established a good career in labour-intensive roles or through loyal service but each of them seemed comfortable. No-one really pushed through barriers, and remained within the local area and never moved on.
Although I was only living 10 minutes from the City, and used to admire Canary Wharf from my bedroom window, I could never picture myself in the setting of a corporate environment.
Working with Arrival Education allowed me to understand my potential, how to use the skills I had and develop on the ones I didn’t, all to navigate my way to achieving my goals successfully.
I now work for a global corporate. A setting that was once alien and uncomfortable is now a platform I use to navigate my success with clarity and confidence.
Looking back, what was it about the programme that helped you most?
What helped me the most was being able to understand my own worth and what I can bring to the table. Similar interventions at school made me feel lucky to be in a room with influential people. I would sit and listen in awe, and although I felt I had some great ideas to contribute, I wouldn’t share them.
Arrival Education made me realise that I was in that room for a reason and enabled me to show my value with confidence.
What do you think the difference would be if you hadn’t attended the programme?
I think I would have done well, I was always quite sure of my ability, I just didn’t know what to do with it.
The key difference would have been on how far I would have pushed myself. I had an idea of a career back then but that idea was based on local admiration and not understanding my own potential.
What are you doing now? What are your hopes for your future?
I am currently studying Economics with Econometrics degree and have just finished my second year.
Alongside this I work for Skanska, recruiting emerging talent into the organisation.
With regard to the future, one thing I learned with Arrival Education is that things change all the time, but I aim to climb the career ladder as high as I possibly can, without limiting my options.
What would you say about Arrival Education to someone who had never heard of us?
If you want to engage with Arrival Education, you need to be authentic and curious. Time moves so quickly and you need to be aware of where you are at and open to explore how to develop or grow in order to move on.
You also need to be realistic about what you’d like to achieve. There’s nothing wrong with having a grand goal but understanding what you need to achieve now to move closer to that goal is imperative. Arrival Education is great at helping you with this.
The Success for Life Programme
Success for Life is a 4-year talent development programme for young people aged 14-19 years from economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse backgrounds. It’s run in partnership with the UK’s leading businesses and helps students develop the necessary skills to achieve success. Success for Life has been credited with
- achieving an average 2 grade improvement across the board in GCSE subjects,
- improving attitude and behaviour and
- leading students to become more articulate, confident and determined to succeed.
There are huge benefits for the businesses that get involved, including Improved coaching and leadership skills, a pipeline into switched-on, ambitious young talent, and learning how to shift perceptions about diverse young talent to reach diversity and inclusion goals.
If you are a school head or business leader who would like to talk to us about the benefits of a similar programme for your organisation, please get in touch.