How Access Aspiration kick-started my career

1st December 2020
Ali Siddiqi took part in our Access Aspiration programme in 2018. He is now an Apprentice Surveyor at JLL. Here he shares his journey into work. 

Access Aspiration opened doors for me and gave me opportunities I thought I would never have access to. Not only did it help my confidence and grow my self-esteem, the programme gave me the tools to network and make my own opportunities.

I first heard about Access Aspiration in a school assembly when one of the team visited to talk about the programme. When I discovered what it had to offer, I made sure to apply and was keen to benefit from the programme. Accessing work experience independently was difficult, especially as someone who didn’t have family or friends who pursued a corporate career.

One of the first and most helpful events that I attended was an insight day at a property development company. When listening to the CEO giving an inspiring talk about his career and experiences, it really motivated me to succeed and kick-started my interest for a property career.

I felt that the most useful part of the programme was being able to ask questions and get answers from experienced professionals. For a young person who didn’t have family or friends in corporate careers, it was very tough to get guidance on how best to apply for roles and how to perform well when doing interviews.

In addition, the opportunity to listen and gain an insight into what different careers might be like was invaluable and something you don’t get every day. I learnt that if you get knocked back you’ve got to keep pushing on, asking questions, and being proactive.

What made the experience even better was the support I received from the Access Aspiration team. I could email them with any questions I had and they would always get back to me. The programme made connecting with businesses so much easier and without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Programmes like Access Aspiration are so needed as they enable young people who come from lower income backgrounds without connections to still compete with their more affluent peers. It also informs them of how competitive the world of work really is and, most importantly, teaches them how to build a personal brand. Without the programme, I wouldn’t have the degree apprenticeship I have today.

Having now completed the programme and started my first role as an apprentice at JLL, my advice to young people in school is to always highlight your strengths. Whether you’ve taken part in work experience, internships, volunteering or even doing a bake sale for charity – just make sure you sell yourself and be confident.

When writing the story of your life, make sure your holding the pen. In this life you can be whoever you want to be.