Ashleeka travelled through education and finished with a degree but had no idea how to make that accomplishment fit into a potential career. She believed going to university was the norm and that strong narrative created a huge pressure for her at school. She graduated in Psychology with the belief that it would lead her to a stable and prosperous job.
“Coming back home from university was a drastic change and I didn’t know how to cope. My friends weren’t close by and everyone had jobs – it felt quite lonely.”
Unfulfilled in a basic administration role, Ashleeka was longing to access exciting opportunities that were more challenging and would allow her to develop new skills. She was sitting at a desk all day, staring at a computer screen and had very little social interaction with her colleagues. She was even starting to suffer from illness due to the poor work environment!
Scrolling through Facebook, Ashleeka came across an ad about the Future Leaders programme. The 2-day session with Flying Start XP would help her to identify key strengths and skills as well as learn how to interview and research for a new job. She handed in her notice and decided to invest her time and efforts to get the right support at The Prince’s Trust. In addition, she attended the 1-day session with Lea_p. A key learning now sticks with her – to be aware of her core values and the importance of matching them to the organisation she applies to. If they do not match, she could expect to never be happy working there.
“I was anxious to take the first step forward and meet other people. I’ve never done anything like this before. At the same time, I was keen and eager because I was doing something to benefit my future career.”
Ashleeka went on to complete a Get Started programme before attending a Get Hired event in May 2019. By then, she was fully prepared to test her communication skills and convey herself to employers in speed interviews. To be concise and impress them at the same time was a rapid learning curve, however, she always received feedback to continuously improve. This was something she missed out on when applying for jobs elsewhere.
“When you apply online you don’t even get an email to say you’ve been rejected – employers just air you.”
After Get Hired, Ashleeka completed a telephone interview and was offered two weeks’ work experience at the Financial Times. Although she needed a real job that paid money, she understood the value of building up her CV. She helped to coordinate the FT Talent Challenge and was praised on her efficiency and ability to take on board what needed to be done. Reaching the end of her experience, Ashleeka was pulled to the side and offered a full-time job. Overwhelmed and taken by shock, she accepted straight away!
The Prince’s Trust helped Ashleeka excel in interviews and gave her the essential resources to find work. Meanwhile, it also had significant impact on her daily life and is now more resilient, hopeful and motivated. She is committed to her job at the Financial Times and is happy about her development and progression in the company.
Particularly for the graduate population, Ashleeka highly recommends shorter programmes like Future Leaders and Get Hired because she knows that offering free time can be impractical for others in her situation. In addition, she expects Jobcentres to increase their referrals of new claimants to The Prince’s Trust – particularly when they look at someone’s CV and sees that they have a degree and the ability to work. She believes it is a major barrier to have a work coach who cannot take you through the steps of how to apply for jobs and develop your confidence.
“The Prince’s Trust was my safety net before going back out to the real world. It should be the first place you go to after university because you feel so lost. You never know what it could lead to or how it could benefit your confidence and happiness.”