Stephen was recommended to us as a very smart young man from a white working class background.
During the CLP a Skype call was arranged with a Yale university professor to raise the aspirations of the cohort. As a result, Stephen decided to apply to Ivy League universities – turning his SAT around in six weeks. He was put on the reserve lists for Harvard and Yale and received a straight offer to Cornell. In the end he could not attend Cornell as he was unable to secure financial support. He now knows he is Ivy League calibre. He went on to provide policy support to a Member of Parliament.
“I was inspired by my brother. He was the first person in our family to make it to higher education. He showed me that education was essential so I kept with it. On evenings and weekends, I worked a series of part-time jobs, including volunteering.
I made it onto the first year of the leadership programme in summer 2012. The programme was packed with activities which brought me out of my shell. Everyone’s self-confidence and belief in what was possible for kids from our range of backgrounds was really boosted by the two-week course. Practical advice on public speaking and networking were particularly useful for me, as well as the chance to meet guest speakers from the leadership of the city.
They gave up their time to come in and inspired us to think beyond out immediate horizons and reach for anything. I believe that leadership is about learning from your mistakes – and about yourself in the process.”
“Leadership is about learning from your mistakes – and about yourself in the process”
— Stephen, 2012 participant
“When I was in sixth form in didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I completed my two years at college and then started looking for apprenticeships. Soon after, I began an apprenticeship at the Council. They helped me to seek out opportunities to progress my career, including taking part in the City Leadership Programme.
“I started the programme feeling a bit lost and not having much confidence in myself, but my mentor Louise brought that out of me. We set objectives at the end of each session for the next time that we met. It was so motivational to have someone believe in me and push me to my potential – she was one of the reasons why I applied to become an Apprenticeship Ambassador. She also helped me with interview skills, CV updating and understanding the public sector and career opportunities.
“I thought I wasn’t ready for any of these things, but with a bit of encouragement, I was able to step up in my role and start to consider leadership roles. My goal now is to be less fearful and to challenge myself to take on more responsibility. I believe that everyone should challenge themselves to take as many opportunities that come their way.”
“I believe that everyone should challenge themselves to take as many opportunities that come their way”
— Amy, 2017 participant
Ra’ees was nominated by his school – he was a young Anime artist. He saw it as a hobby but through the programme was encouraged to consider it as a future career and was introduced to Dick Penny, Director of the Watershed.
Through Dick’s connections Ra’ees was introduced to a number of artists. Six months later Ra’ees had been published thanks to the introductions made. He was just 19. He attributes the programme to his incredible start to his career.
“When I took part in the City Leadership Programme back in 2013, I was unsure of my potential career paths and if university was for me. However when I met with the facilitators Marvin Rees and Tracie Jolliff for my interview and I mentioned that my hobby was drawing, I was encouraged to consider that as an option.
“Honestly I was sceptical at first, but despite that, in the short time I had within the CLP programme, I experienced the joy of showcasing my work and being able to converse with people who were curious about its inspirations and my own developments. I learned not to hide my work and to be proud of it, as an extension of myself. Following the programme I went on to study Animation at university for 3 years.”
“I learned not to hide my work and to be proud of it, as an extension of myself”
— Ra’ees, 2013 participant