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Reflecting on a year on programme

Grind, Struggle, Patience: The ingredients to success

Asif
Khan
Business Admin apprentice

Success. Everyone wants it but not everyone knows when they’ve achieved it. It's really important to take a moment in life to reflect back on everything you’ve accomplished. Not everyone realises the small milestones you accomplish actually have a greater effect on you than than one big achievement. These small accomplishments can vary from breaking down barriers to stepping outside of your comfort zone. 

My name is Asif. I’m 22 years old and I’m a WhiteHat apprentice. I’ll be reflecting on the past year, sharing my experience of a year on programme and reflecting on some accomplishments in the hope that it will encourage you to do the same. 

The grind

One year ago I was in the middle of changing careers which was a depressing time for me as I was young, confused about what my passion and strengths were and I was struggling to financially hold my family together. I honestly felt stuck and didn’t feel I was personally developing. I was working in security at the O2 arena doing 12 hour shifts at the time to boost my confidence skills and I thought there would be a career in that field for me so I felt lucky to get a full-time role with Merlin Entertainment working at the London Cluster (London Eye, London Dungeons etc.). I was really happy about this as I was finally on a full-time wage and thought my money issues wouldn’t be a worry anymore. My wife was really happy for me and then…. 

I quit after one week.

The struggle

In that one week, I was just miserable. I thought it would be a great job but ended up finding myself thinking “is this the type of work I’ll be in for the rest of my life?” “Don’t I have more valuable skills than just patrolling in the cold for 8 hours?”. I knew it wasn’t right for me. Quitting was the best and worst decision I made at the time because I had no work for the rest of the month and only £600 to get me and 3 other people through. It hit me one night that I wanted to work in a professional environment where I get to talk to great colleagues on a daily basis, knowing my skills and duties were valued.

The patience

In the months that followed, I began my journey to finding an apprenticeship. I was doing interview prep every week. I felt so ready for my interview to come but I had no luck (either the role wasn’t for me or the employer was picky about who they chose to interview). I felt so annoyed that I wasn’t going anywhere in life but I knew I just had to relax, breathe and have the patience for my moment to come. And the opportunity was just right around the corner for me... WhiteHat.

The opportunity

Once I discovered WhiteHat and the apprenticeships they offer, my circumstances changed really fast. From attending their starter day to having my first interview and being offered the role all happened in two weeks!!! It was with a company called Newable which is a business support consultancy. I was so happy and excited, and was encouraged to be myself. Since starting, I’ve been excited to take on so many opportunities that have come my way. The Project Coordinator role involves me being in projects that help companies grow and involves me planning and attending all sorts of development events for clients. 

The little things, like being based in the City, internal benefits, and the professional people I get to be around is a win for me as those environments can stimulate work productivity. 

This was an opportunity I didn’t want to waste, as having a stammer, I had a lot of personal setbacks and weak skills in communication. I made a self-goal to work on my setbacks and put myself in small situations to build confidence. Newable and WhiteHat have enabled me to do that. 

There’s space for great career development and definitely great people to network with. For a young individual, there is so much I can learn and do to show initiative to my team. It’s been really fun as their workplace culture isn’t strictly corporate and I definitely felt myself improving and actually being happy. Their first value is dreaming big which is something that always keeps me motivated.

The determination

I’ve been with a couple of other apprenticeship providers but none of them has come close to how great WhiteHat has been. The person I am now is because of the opportunities they have provided for me. I have been taking part in their community events from Google Garage (masterclasses developing lifeskills), skills workshops and other clubs’ apprentices have hosted, all of which have helped me with networking and personal development.

WhiteHat apprentice hacktivists and influencers

Being able to stand out and work on my personal brand was a goal I came into this process to work on. My leadership skills have improved as I have been able to show myself and the WhiteHat team I can represent them at careers fairs and schools promoting how great and life-changing apprenticeships can be and have been for me. I feel so confident in my voice now that I am not afraid to turn down any opportunity that comes my way. It’s been such an incredible journey as a year ago I would have never have pictured where I am today. 

The success that follows…

I recently found out that I am a finalist in the Asian Apprenticeship Awards 2019. I’ve been told by the CEO of WhiteHat I am a powerful advocate for Apprenticeships. I’ve volunteered for a stammering charity and helped them with ideas of rebranding their website. As well as this I’ve made really great relationships with the apprentice community and I have been able to have a better understanding of the career route I will follow. 

Asian Apprenticeship Awards finalist

Five years back, I would never have thought I would be an advocate for people in my community, especially as I stammer.

Take a breath and look back

I think an important aspect of success is to do the unthinkable and get out of your comfort zone to make the most out of opportunities in life. Having this attitude, you can achieve great things.

There will be disappointment and failure but it takes patience to work through it. Never give up and show determination and the right opportunity will come about and make you thrive.

It may sound easier than it looks but patience is one trait worth having when looking for success. It’s important to know what the struggle feels like to understand the greatness of finally achieving a goal. I eventually got confident enough to break barriers and thought enough is enough, I still have a voice in life. 

I hope you may find this useful and it helps you to overcome barriers to work your way to success.

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