BY ALICIA EDMUND
EMERGING VOICES | COVID 19
Interviewer: Alicia Edmund (Communications and Policy Manager)
Study. Sleep. Read. Study. Sleep. Read and repeat. That has been my life in lockdown. I live in the London Borough of Ilford & Redbridge with my Mum and brother. Living at home has been so boring and so I have used lockdown to spend more time with family and to learn new skills.
I have worked with Leap’s Progressions Routes Officer, Aaliyah, to research and apply for apprenticeships in the Financial Services sector. Prior to lockdown I reached the final stage of OfCom interviews and another opportunity with CityBank, but nothing came of either opportunities.
When we went into the first national lockdown I worked with Aaliyah online and an employment coach to find other courses and work opportunities. To date, I have finished accountancy course and completed three online courses in customer service level 2, plus level 3 in construction and administration. Soon I should receive my CSCS card. The greatest conflict I have experienced this year is linking my personal aspirations with my reality. I am doing all I can to get into work but am finding my efforts fall flat. I have to keep reminding myself that I have to be persistent, but it is hard.
“I AM VETERAN IN THE LEAP COMMUNITY. I WAS REFERRED TO ONE OF ITS COMMUNITY PROGRAMMES BACK IN 2015 AND HAVE BEEN HEAVILY INVOLVED IN THE YOUTH INVOLVEMENT SESSIONS AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT EVER SINCE.”
Alongside studying, I have been working with Leap’s Innovation team, designing programmes aimed at young people moving from second to primary school. School at 14 years old was tough for me, I was always in trouble at school, so I know how important it is for young people to have the right support around them to keep focused with their education.
This year has also been a year for deep reflection. The Black Lives Matter movement and death of George Floyd has made me reflect more. I have been interested to learn more about racism in the UK, reading books like Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race has inspired me to think about setting up own podcast in the future, but this is more of horizon thinking. So many people during this time have lost everything because of virus. The pandemic has also made me spiritual and feel grateful for life.
Looking ahead, I am so focused on my future. I want to get onto the J.P. Morgan and Exeter Apprenticeship scheme. If successful, this gives me an opportunity to study alongside my desired dream job, but I need the sector to give someone with my background and history a chance in their company. I am finding that new graduates are competing for the same roles and this is reducing my chances as I haven’t been to university. I have wanted to be an investment banker from as early as I can remember, and I won’t give up that dream.