Professionals including a boxer, an artist, a project manager and an accountant spent the day at the Samuel Lister Academy last week at a Career Footsteps event, part of the local Inspiring Bradford initiative. From the woman who runs her own business creating dresses from crochet to the project manager for multi-national finance company Deloitte, they shared their experience and insight with year 8 and year 10 students during several rounds of speed networking.
Usman Ali, a former pupil, is now 31 and a diversity and inclusion ambassador for the Ministry of Justice. Usman says his undiagnosed dyslexia and hyper-activity made him disruptive in the classroom and he left school with no GCSEs, going to work in his father’s shop. He says,
‘I didn’t know then what my assets and skills were and what I could utilise.’
After the shop closed down he re-sat his GCSEs and went on to do an apprenticeship in business administration. He’s worked for the Ministry of Justice for 12 years and advises companies such as Tescos, Barclays and the BBC on how to make their recruitment practices fairer. His advice to the students,
‘If you can’t move forwards, move sideways, but keep moving.’
‘It’s all about inspiring young people, raising their expectations and broadening their knowledge of the pathways open to them. The volunteers have shared their very different career routes and for some students, that will be life-changing.’