In 2022, I graduated from Bangor University in Criminology and Criminal Justice, as I wanted to pursue a career within the Youth Offending Team or Youth Justice. At the time, I was also considering doing a master’s degree, however, I decided to wait, and it is something I may consider in the future. I wanted to start work and gain experience since I had none. This quickly became a struggle for me as I was sending a few applications a month and received no interview offers. My friend from university suggested volunteering to gain a bit of experience in retail, so I volunteered with Mind in their charity shop. Eventually, I signed up for universal credit within the same year and attended one of their job fairs. My work coach signed me up for two opportunities, but after talking to the people about them, I felt that the opportunities were not for me. I then wandered around and came across Making The Leap. I approached a person from the engagement team and asked about the charity and what they did which resonated with me. I decided to give it a go as I have never done anything like this.
During the three-week workshop, I was challenged in many ways that got me out of my comfort zone. I never saw myself as a public speaker – I always felt anxious about giving presentations. The workshop enabled me to practise my public speaking by giving a short presentation to my colleagues every day. This later became my achievement as I gained more confidence and improved my public speaking skills. I learnt a lot throughout the three weeks and have enjoyed the experience. The most important lesson I have learnt is to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
After the workshop, I was assigned to a fantastic mentor who supported me with my career goals and ways to get there. I also attended job search clinics where I received further support on job applications, CV writing and voluntary opportunities from incredible volunteers. In particular, I found it very useful when I was given feedback on my job applications, such as when I was writing personal statements. Due to this, I was receiving more interview offers. Since I was very inexperienced in interviews, my mentor helped me prepare for the interviews by practising some questions with her. I was gaining more confidence as I had more interviews and my interview skills improved over time as well. In 2023, I gained some experience in the civil service sector with Universal Credit, where I was able to learn about myself and enhance my skills. Within a few months, I also attended some events organised by Making the Leap including a networking event with Howard Kennedy and a mock interview practice with CMC Markets.
In June, I felt lost and, in a way, unmotivated because I was applying for so many jobs and many rejected me due to my limited experience in the field. The volunteers at Making the Leap gave me more hope and helped me find another opportunity with a non-profit organisation for which they also helped me complete an application. Within about one or two weeks, I was offered an interview with the non-profit organisation and had to complete an assessment which assessed my advice skills. After a few days, the organisation offered me the job as a Trainee Poverty Advice Worker! To be honest, I was really surprised that the organisation offered me the job, but I was relieved and excited at the same time. I kept this to myself for a few days before telling other people, and I wanted to surprise the staff and volunteers at MTL. So, I signed up for my last job search clinic and announced my news to everyone to celebrate the achievement. I would like to stay in the organisation for as long as possible, I will be providing advice, which is something I enjoy. But, if I change my mind, then in the future I would like to work with young people.
To any young person who is considering signing up with MTL, I would highly recommend it. At Mind, I talked to volunteers about the care and support MTL offers because I want to share the positive experience I had and use what I learnt to advise or guide any young person who volunteers. At the same time, it is good to challenge yourself because your confidence can grow from new experiences, and you can learn something new about yourself. As a person who used to be not as confident as I am now, MTL taught me to get out of my comfort zone and try new experiences.
To all the MTL supporters, I want to thank you for either volunteering or funding the work of MTL. They are truly an amazing charity that genuinely supports young people in as many ways as they can. Your help means everything and is very much appreciated! As a person who is passionate about supporting young people, this is very meaningful for me to see that there are people in this world who believe in young people and the work of MTL. Thank you so much for your support!! 🙂