We first met Amir when he was 17 and a pupil on our coaching programme. Now, five years later, we were thrilled to bump into him again - now as an employee at one of our business partners!
“Find a career that you’re going to enjoy. Don’t follow the money. Because if you find a job you like, you’ll work hard and you’ll do well and the money will come."
A teacher addressing their class? A Future Frontiers Programme Manager talking to students? No. This is 22-year old Amir, a former Future Frontiers coachee, addressing a group of attentive Year 10 pupils from Stratford School Academy who are about to be coached by volunteers at Newline, where Amir works in the IT department.
We spoke to Amir afterwards to hear his fascinating story.
“I was 17 when I did the Future Frontiers programme. But I was a lazy kid. At that age I didn’t work as hard as I should. I ended up having to re-sit Year 12 which was a wake up call for me! The re-sit got me to really knuckle down and I increased my grades dramatically.
At the same time, I did the Future Frontiers programme and it definitely gave me a sense of urgency about finding something I wanted to do. I knew I wasn’t enjoying Economics and Business, even though I had chosen these for A Level. It helped me realise I needed to find something that I could happily study at uni for the next 3-4 years, and that would lead to a career I could work in for the next 30-40 years.
“I did the Future Frontiers programme and it definitely gave me a sense of urgency about finding something I wanted to do.”
It was one of the lawyers at Ashurst - where I had my coaching - who got me thinking. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to go into Finance, for the money. He challenged that and said if you’re in a job you’re actually willing to work in, you’ll work hard, do well and you’ll go places - and that will make you money. Otherwise you’ll end up doing something you don’t really care about and don’t enjoy, so you won’t succeed.
What he said really resonated with me, and that’s the message I wanted to pass on to these Stratford Academy students.
Another conversation with my Ashurst mentor also stayed with me. I had always thought that if you want to go down a certain career path you have to study a subject after GCSEs that specifically relates to that, like Finance if you want to go into Finance. But I learned from my coaching that you can go into a career via different routes, by studying related subjects. I found that really interesting and it took a lot of pressure off me when it came to choosing subjects. So I chose something I wanted to study, which would give me options - not pin me down to a specific career.
“I had always thought that if you want to go down a certain career path you have to study a subject after GCSEs that specifically relates to that, like Finance if you want to go into Finance.”
As a student on the Future Frontiers programme it was really enlightening. And if my former coach were here I’d say thanks and how much I appreciated the coaching sessions.
I’m now finishing my Computer Science degree at City University. They have a model called the ‘Professional Pathway’, where you can work while studying part time. I had worked as an intern at Newline, and because it worked out so well and I enjoyed it, we converted that into a work placement as part of the Professional Pathway. I work in the IT department providing basic user support, helping with equipment purchasing, handling and disposal, and providing support in the server room. It's a really valuable experience!
I heard that Future Frontiers was doing the coaching programme at Newline by coincidence. But at 22, I didn’t think I was old enough to be a coach. Now I’ve seen other coaches of a similar age and I know I can. I would definitely be a coach next time!
The Future Frontiers coaching programme supports over a thousand young people like Amir every year. Could your business make a life-changing difference?
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