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An inspiring conversation — Harleen's Story

During the Future Frontiers programme, not only do pupils benefit from personalised career coaching, they also get the opportunity to meet exciting role models.

Recently, Harleen, a Year 10 pupil from Ealing, had an inspiring video call with her local MP, which motivated her to pursue her dream of becoming a politician in the future.

We spoke with Harleen and her coach Helen, Head of Sustainability Transformation at Salterbaxter, about their experience on the programme.


“I always knew what I wanted to do but I wasn't sure how I was going to get there because I had such high ambitions. I want to be a lawyer and I also want to move on to do politics one day, but I didn't know how to get there or what qualifications or resources I would need.

I cannot express beyond words how grateful I am for this opportunity that I’ve been given. I have learned so much, not only about myself but also about the working world.

After school I want to do A Levels in History, English and Politics and then I want to go to university in London and hopefully a very good university.

My dream career would be either a criminal lawyer or human rights lawyer. I would like to start off as a lawyer and then move on to politics as I get older. I think that politics and law really work harmoniously together because understanding the law and knowing the law helps you change and make laws when the time comes.

"I have learned so much, not only about myself but also about the working world."

At the end of the day, it's really just about me wanting to help people not just in my community but in my country — people who are like me and people who are different to me. I just want to help those who need help and give voices to people whose voices have often been taken from them, like so many minority groups.

I got to talk to my local MP and he very kindly gave me a lot of advice — I wrote four pages of notes! He told me that it's important to finish your education first and to make sure you're an active participant in your community. He had a really big emphasis on environmental challenges, which I appreciate a lot.

Towards the end he told us that politics is not a power, it’s a service and it’s all about helping the next generation move forward and that was really refreshing to hear.

He also gave me so many opportunities which I am hoping I will be able to take part in, with my parents permission, such as working at his office for a bit or joining a summer group where they go to Parliament and get to talk with the Mayor of London.

“I am much more confident in my choice now — I realised that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

I’ve seen how hard I will have to work in order to get where I want to be but speaking to a role model in that job has made me see how rewarding it is when you get there.

I am much more confident in my choice now — after my sector role model call, I think that was a moment where I realised that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I can see myself in 50 years helping other young people like me, the next generation.

I want to say the biggest thank you ever — this whole experience has been so thrilling and has helped me so much. You are helping so many young people and that is so selfless and kind and it's so nice to see that. I honestly would give everyone the biggest hug to say thank you but I don't have the time!”


The whole experience has been far and away from what I expected. It’s been an absolute joy, Harleen is amazing and we've had a lovely time.

I wanted to do it for two reasons, really. One is because my own children have recently been through this life stage, so it was an opportunity to help other people going through the same thing and hopefully to use my network and my experiences to help somebody else.

The other reason is that you always learn so much as a mentor — we've had long conversations about what it's like to be young women of colour in the UK so Harleen recommended a book which would help me to understand and I could educate myself and get more of an appreciation. Anything you can do to broaden your experiences is going to make you a more rounded person so it’s been fantastic to meet Harleen and learn from her.

“The whole experience has been far and away from what I expected. It’s been an absolute joy.”

I think this helped Harleen realise that getting your GCSEs is really important, which is a really key message when you're 15; there's always exciting things to come in the future but what opens the doors to that is getting the exam results that you need.

More than anything, she has turned what was already a very articulate enthusiasm for something, into something much more concrete and now she knows what steps she needs. We have looked on UCAS for Law degrees and what kind of A Levels she will need for those. We have talked about if she wants to be active in student politics. So I hope those things have given her more of a flavour for some of the steps that you can take.

It's been wonderful to see what Harleen has got out of it but everyone else has got so much out of it as well. We will see Harleen in Parliament, I have no doubt about that!”

The Future Frontiers coaching programme is a unique way to develop your staff whilst also making a positive impact in your local community. Get in touch with our team today to find out how your business could benefit from partnering with us.


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