I am 22 years old, from West London and a recent Business Management graduate from the University of Westminster. So far, all my work experience has been retail-based and I’ve never stepped into an office with a suit on, which has always been a dream of mine.
I have faced many challenges throughout my life and failed many times, but I’ve always got back up and tried. I always dreamed big but that meant a lot of hard work, dedication and resilience. I struggled to stay motivated a lot of the time due to challenges I faced and at some points I felt like I wouldn’t make it anywhere.
Before coming to Making The Leap, I had never got passed an initial phone interview. I didn’t have the confidence to talk to someone over the phone, didn’t really know how to approach different companies and never knew what to include in my applications. It got me down because I felt like I wasn’t wanted, but really the way I was applying wasn’t correct.
Searching for inspiration, I started looking at motivational quotes and watching YouTube speeches on personal development. I began to realise that no matter whose house you are born in, your hands do the work and your body makes the sweat, so your grind will make you shine. Those words spurred me on, so it was amazing when, years later, I heard the same words at Making The Leap from Tunde.
My introduction to Making The Leap came through my older brother who, after graduating from university, completed the Workshop after two years of unemployment. He promised me I would get some sort of benefit from it and pushed me to go. After speaking to Rosa on the Engagement Team, I could see this was right for me. The staff Making The Leap have the rare ability to connect with and help anyone. The organisation is made up of such a unique group of people that, once you meet a few of the team, you just feel like you are in the right place.
The main benefit I got from my time at Making The Leap was understanding myself more. It wasn’t like school where the same rules apply to everyone – I felt loved and cared for because of the individual help I was given. My Career Coach, Karem, quickly learned things about me and, because of the way she spoke to me about them, I really felt like someone wanted to help me. That helped me open up about what I needed to do to be a success. My main issues were confidence and not being able to talk about myself, which is precisely what I’m doing here!
I also improved many technical skills such as presenting and, a few days ago, presented my story to August’s Workshop. It felt so normal I didn’t even break a sweat! Another characteristic I developed, which I didn’t really know about before, was emotional intelligence. I grew to understand the feelings of others and adapted to situations in order to achieve something.
Another key part of the Workshop was gaining insights into professional environments. I made a promise to myself not to take pictures from the high-rise office windows so I could do it when I actually worked in a place like that. Meeting people who have made something out of nothing made me realise it could be me – that gave me so much motivation to better myself.
On Workshop graduation day, Karem gave a short speech about each of us. It was my best moment and I walked out of the office feeling invincible. I felt like if I put my energy into something, I could do whatever I wanted. I recently accepted a position as a Programme Consultant at Global University Systems and my plan for the next few years is to work my way up to a managerial role and lead a team. I will also volunteer for the Army Cadets where I can gain other skills I need for my future career.
Making The Leap really changed my character and thinking, helping me understand the world better. Before the Workshop, the ‘right’ career for me meant having a steady, monthly income and a smile on my Mother’s face. Now, ‘right’ means having a network of peers; developing my skills; planning a career before getting into it; taking the time before communicating with people; applying for something I feel comfortable doing; researching companies and getting to know workplaces. And, of course, a smile on both my Mothers face and mine.
My success story may just be words to those reading but I, and many others, are living proof that working on yourself will get you to where you want to be. Stay positive, always give 110% in everything you do and you will shine. You will stand out and you will be where you want to be. Apply yourself and make a change in your life. Starting now.
By Nadeem, aged 22