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October was for ‘Overcoming Obstacles’…

In October, we had incredible masterclass sessions from two exciting industries – Technology and Journalism.

First, our Fellows and Associates were given an up-close look into the world of Technology by employees of multimedia messaging app, Snapchat. Members of the diverse panel discussed their backgrounds, giving honest and heartfelt insights into their career journeys. The panellists shared that despite not having started with Tech backgrounds, the obstacles they had overcome, and their individual experiences had led to life-changing careers. They highlighted how current global events have affected them and provided tips to overcome some of the anxieties involved in job searching (and working) during a pandemic.

In an anonymous poll, one young person shared, “the panellists at the [technology] masterclass gave a variety of interesting advice and accounts from their own experiences and fields of work. I was able to resonate with many of the points discussed, which makes me feel more inspired in my job search, as well as more confident”.

After each panellist was introduced, the masterclass took on a more interactive Q&A style. When an attendee asked the panellists, “how best to maintain a healthy work-life balance”, they proffered tips to unwind and emphasised hobbies outside of work. Another attendee asked, “if you could go back in time, what would you do differently?” to which one panellist responded, “have fun in the process of things and not have worried as much”.

This session was truly inspiring and gave our young people the chance to see what a non-traditional career journey looks like in a dynamic industry. Some key takeaways were, “to be confident and take on roles you are interested in, even if you do not necessarily have the skills” and to not be afraid to “insert your personality when applying for a job [and] to stand out to employers”.

The next session for our Fellows and Associates was a conversation with Nitya Rajan, a reporter for ITV News, where she discussed her experiences as a journalist. Nitya, who was born in southern India and came to the UK at a young age, recounted an interaction with a teacher at school who discouraged her from pursuing a career that would primarily use the English language. A few young participants, and even some MTL staff members, shared similar experiences of feeling disheartened when someone had criticised their potential. One attendee asked Nitya for advice on how to overcome feelings of self-doubt, to which she answered, “never base life decisions on someone’s opinions”, and to “take what comes your way… you never know, there may be something out there [you have not experienced yet] that you can excel in”.

As the session continued, Nitya shared some of her brilliant work and how her career has progressed. It was encouraging seeing her in her element and hearing about the big names she has worked alongside. At one point she shared a clip of her time as a presenter for Yahoo’s Build Series, where she interviewed Daniel Radcliffe and even showcased her brilliant singing skills! This clip, and others she shared, served as an illustration of the power of resilience, as Nitya took us along her journey of taking charge of her passion and still going for her dream career despite being discouraged right at the start. This masterclass came at a critical time for the participants, when aspirations amongst young people need a boost.

One young attendee said that their key takeaway from this session was that, “Failing at something once does not mean you are not good at it or cannot have a career in it, so do not be disheartened”. Another commented that they had learnt, “be yourself, remain resilient through life’s lemons, make lemonade, and then some”.

Overall, October was a great month and these sessions were so instructive in demonstrating that obstacles can be overcome in career journeys. Whether there are obstacles in gaining access to industries not previously considered, feelings of self-doubt, difficulties in finding the perfect work-life balance, or the challenge of remaining resilient in the face of criticism, our participants were left in no doubt that they have what it takes to succeed. We want to thank our brilliant masterclass hosts once again for the exceptional sessions and for their support in the work we do in raising the aspirations of young people.

Contact us, to find out how you can join us in our upcoming masterclasses.

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