What I learnt about careers through Access Aspiration
We spoke to Queren Ngiay, student at Oxford Brookes University, about her experience of the Access Aspiration programme and how it has impacted her career so far.
How did you come to be on the Access Aspiration programme?
I first heard about Access Aspiration in sixth form when my homeroom teacher gave us an introduction to what the programme was and what it was for. The opportunity sounded amazing and my school encouraged us to sign up.
What was your experience of the programme?
My experience has been a very positive one! As a teenager who was not completely sure on what career to go into, making a choice was rather daunting, especially given my lack of experience and connections. However, the programme exposed me to many different industries and allowed me to meet people in professional settings and work on my networking skills – all experiences I would not have had without the programme.
What elements of the programme did you find most useful?
Personally, the business insight days were the most useful aspect of the programme as they gave me the chance to speak with people who are actually working in areas I’m interested in. I was also able ask all of my burning questions, not just about their current jobs but also the steps they took to get there. For the first time, I had the opportunity to network and build lasting connections with employers.
In addition, the insight days made me more aware of the specific niche within my chosen career that I’d be interested in. Before attending insight days, a career in property seemed rather broad. However, when speaking to professionals who work in the sector, I was able to more accurately narrow down what I would enjoy most out of all the specialties you can go into.
How do you think the programme has helped your career?
The programme has had a significant impact on my career. I knew I was interested in my current career path before signing up, but I had no real knowledge of the industry nor real connections. As a result, finding work experience placements was difficult and most of my information came from career books. This experience made me unsure of how I was going to choose the right career for me.
Through Access Aspiration, I was able to attend an insight day and undertake a placement at property development firm Seaforth Land, enabling me to gain a significant insight into what jobs in this field entail. This was the deciding factor that helped me decide to pursue a career in the property sector and attend university to advance my career.
Do you think employment programmes like Access Aspiration are needed and if so, why?
Access Aspiration is definitely needed. Simply put, when we begin to make decisions in our education as teenagers that will influence our career, many of us have no real experience in the workplace and are completely unaware of what career we might wish to pursue.
Rather than becoming unmotivated and doing nothing, employment programmes such as Access Aspiration help to build high aspirations in young people by exposing us to many different career paths and offering direct communication with the people working in these roles. These experiences not only allow those who are unsure on what career to pursue to gain more insight, but it also helps those who already have a career in mind to gain more knowledge and build connections.
I am very grateful to have had this opportunity and can only wish that even more young people are able to benefit from such a useful programme!