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Mayor's Fund For London

Shinaide Cameron

May 2017

Shinaide was unemployed for a long time, even though she was applying for jobs she kept getting a lot of rejection. Her jobcentre advisor recommended the EPIC programme and Shinaide has never looked back since. She is now employed at Teach First as a Senior Events Coordinator.

Shinaide sat down with us to tell her story:

Before you got the role with Teach First, what were you doing?

I was unemployed for a long time, I seemed to be getting interviews, but was getting a lot of rejections and I was getting very demotivated by this. It does take its toll sometimes but I knew I had to keep trying. I felt that my interview skills were my weak point and I needed to address this which is where I was introduced to EPIC by my job centre advisor.

How did you find the EPIC pre-employment course, did you find the 2 weeks useful?

At first I wasn’t motivated at all to come to EPIC as I just felt it was another course my job centre advisor was putting me on just to tick a box for them. It was more of a case of let’s get this over with on my first day. By the second day I was so glad I attended EPIC as I found it really useful and motivational. Even after the course I was so pleased that I received support from Rommell as other courses I have been on through the job centre just ended straight away without any support. To be able to still be in contact with Rommell even now I have a job is really good and to also know the support structure will still be in place even when I am working is fantastic!

What was the process like, from finding out about the role and applying, through to getting the job?

Rommell firstly suggested the job to me through the Young London Working website and as soon as I saw the job title I wasn’t confident at all because it was a senior role, I just didn’t think I had enough skills for it. Most of the jobs I was applying for were junior assistant roles. After speaking with Andrea through the screening process she told me that I was going to be put forward as I was a really good fit for the job, which made me even more nervous! Rommell then prepped me for the interview and to be honest if I never completed this I don’t think I would have got through the interview as having this prep really brought out things I needed to improve on for the actual interview! After this prep interview I started to actually see where I have been going wrong in previous interviews for other roles. If it wasn’t for Andrea’s confidence in me and putting me forward for the role and Rommel’s prep I really think I wouldn’t have got the job!

How have Young London Working supported you after the EPIC programme?

I have found it so good as after the programme there was a choice to attend the after course job search sessions. This really motivated me to get up and out of my house as it was something to look forward to and allowed me to put my skills that I have learnt into job applications. It was also nice to have a change of scenery and as I have a big family, I am always expected to be available as I was unemployed for a while! Not anymore! 

 What is your new role with Teach First?

My new role with Teach First is for a Senior Events Coordinator and will entail leading and coordinating our high-profile two-day July conference at Leeds Arena for over 3000 delegates, delivering together high quality continual professional development  to inspire and motivate our teachers. I will also work on our flagship event for 2017 in London in October. This innovative one-day event will host over 3500 delegates in the main event and include numerous sub-events satelliting it both the night before and into the evening. I will work closely with the Events Team to support the delivery of these large-scale, high-profile community events. Also working with the multiple teams who run events for a number of stakeholders, including participants, ambassadors, partners, corporate sponsors, and young people.

What would you like to be doing in your career in 5 years’ time? Do you think this job could help you get there?

At the moment I definitely want to be working towards an event manager role and of course this role will help me to get to that position rather than my previous roles in the past. I also want to one day run my own social enterprise which is to do with education. I want to open a library which supports books for the BAME community. At the moment I feel that there is a lack of representation in books for the BAME community so I would like to specialise in that to represent this community. Apparently there has been a boom in people picking up books again so hopefully this will go in my favour!

What impact has getting this job had on you?

I think this has helped me to prepare for my future more. Now that I have actually got a job I don’t have to devote my time to job search anymore so it has really opened up my mind as to what I really want to do in 5 years which touches upon my social enterprise idea.

What advice would you give other young people who are unemployed and struggling to find work?

I would say to be open minded, I would also say definitely join the EPIC course! Because the people running actually genuinely care about you getting a job, I have been on many courses before and there are a lot of people out there just wanting to tick a box and gain a number for their course records but not EPIC! Also I would advise not to be afraid of utilising the resources out there because they will help, trust me I’ve been there! They can open a lot of doors you don’t even imagine!

Has there been an important lesson you have learnt overall?

I would say to be more open minded and I would also say not to sell myself short. As I said I would not have applied for this role if Rommell and Andrea did not persuade me too. Also doing the mock interview made me realise that I do not give myself enough credit and I really need too a lot more as I know I can do it!

If you could describe your journey as an animal what would it be and why?

I would have to say a caterpillar blossoming into a butterfly because I would say this journey has massively helped on my confidence being on the EPIC course. It feels very symbolic on the progression I have taken and the goals for my career.

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