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Meet your coach:

London

Ash square

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

At 13 I was really interested in the media and loved reading articles about football so I wanted to be a sports writer. I also thought about being a games designer as well.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

The young people – without them, we wouldn’t exist and as much as we have to engage with various stakeholders, it always goes back to the young people. They are the most important people and getting their attention, respect and engagement is what we want. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing young people and they have the ability to turn a bad day into good and a good day into great.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Self-aware – I am tough on myself and I will always put more emphasis on what I didn’t do so well or what I could have improved rather than what I have achieved. I constantly reflect and review my practice and just because something worked well last year or last week, doesn’t mean it can’t be made better. I have probably exercised this capability more than any other trait I believe – both personally and professionally.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

My nan – she was my favourite person and getting the chance to spend time with her one more time would be a privilege. Secondly, my son – they have never met and will never meet but having him meet the person I hold closest to me – that would be my wish.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

I wanted to be an actor or a doctor, actually I wanted to be both.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

As an organistaion everyone’s really supportive and fun to be around. However my favourite thing is helping my cohort realise and achieve their targets/dreams.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

I think we have to use all of the capabilities every day so they are all equally strong. However if pushed I’d say organisation is key for me carrying out my role to high standards and making sure my young people get the best out of the opportunities on offer.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Maya Angelou; not only was she a beautiful writer, but a powerful activist. She could teach me how to be more self-assured and resilient as she bounced back from multiple set-backs and made a massive success out of her writing.  Patrice Lumumba; my namesake and at a time when inequality was rife (1960s) he made a stand for Congo and tried to unite the country. He had to use his seven work readiness capabilities and then some to become Congo’s Prime Minister.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

I wanted to be a professional basketball player as I was a huge Michael Jordan fan. I achieved the goal of playing
professionally within 10 years with the support of some great coaches who nurtured within me unwavering self-assurance, resilience and focused hard work.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

The passionate colleagues whom I work with and most
importantly the fact that I get the fantastic opportunity to support young people to reach their potential as they transition during a pivotal time in their lives into adulthood.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Self-assured – I played a lot of competitive sport as a child. As a result of competing regularly and constantly being challenged and pushed beyond my comfort zone, I have naturally developed to be comfortable to try new things and tend to thrive in new environments. 

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai because they have both lived multifaceted lives and held a fundamental belief in the transformative power of education to change the world. I would love to listen to their thoughts about being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their outstanding contribution to peace and reflect on how they were both able to maintain their humility and sense of purpose despite facing such adversity at key points in their lives.

 

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

I always knew I wanted to ‘help people’ and give a voice to the voiceless, but I didn’t know in what capacity.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Being able to directly support young people on their journey to realise their potential, giving them the opportunity to be seen and heard. (The people are amazing too!).

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Resilience – I’ve had many challenges in my life that have helped me to refine the way I respond to external factors and situations and forced me to build a toolkit of varying coping mechanisms.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

My late grandfather, Nii Aflah – a man of great wisdom, and Maya Angelou.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

An Artist.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

My daily interactions with young people mean there are daily opportunities to celebrate successes and victories. These moments give me energy and keep me driven.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Receptive. I studied Art for many years, every 2 weeks we had a ‘group crit’ which is where you show your classmates your unfinished work, and gain feedback from the group, some of which could be brutal and challenging to hear. At first, I would shut down and block out anything I perceived to be negative about my work. This didn’t help and I saw my grades start to slip. Gradually I began to manage this better and stopped taking feedback personally, which helped me to improve my work. I now like to seek out opportunities for feedback and am always open to hearing different ways of doing something.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

My Auntie Donna, and Mike who was my Media teacher and unofficial mentor in college. They both passed away while I was studying at University. As it was sudden in both cases, I hadn’t taken the opportunity to thank them for the support they had given me. Without them, I doubt I would be as driven or resilient as I am today.

Nottingham

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A popstar!

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Working alongside young people to reach their goals.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Resilience – Life often throws hurdles, it’s important to remember that these can be opportunities to pause, reflect, grow and develop.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Britney Spears and Nina Simone.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

I wanted to be a football player, but I knew I wasn’t good enough, so I wanted to teach PE.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Seeing people achieve more than what they thought was possible!!

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Resilience – life has a funny way of throwing us challenges. I have had my share of these but as someone once said to me ‘the best way out of them is through’.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Firstly, my Grandad Jim, he is the reason I am sport mad, but I was too young to know him before he died. Secondly, Mother Theresa, each day was a battle for her, but she continued to put others first and love them. I would love to get some wisdom from her.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A fireman.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

That every day is different, the young people definitely keep me on my toes.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Resilience – its been a hard life with lots of setbacks but you just have to keep moving forward.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Muhammad Ali & Greta Thunberg, both inspirational individuals who challenged the norm to make a positive change.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

I had absolutely no idea at 13!!! But I am loving what I do now!!!

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Without a doubt the my favourite thing about working at ThinkForward is the YOUNG PEOPLE!!!! They give me life, even on the worst days! They inspire, motivate and drive me to get the best out of them and myself!

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

My strongest capability I would say is communication.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Tupac Shakur and Nelson Mandela.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

I wasn’t sure.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Working for a charity that really tries to make a difference in young people’s lives.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Resilience – I have had to be resilient in my personal and work life. If it doesn’t break you, it makes you.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

George Michael and Nelson Mandela.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

When I was 13 I wanted to own an ice cream truck. (I still do for my love of ice cream!)

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Working with young people and being able to see the progression that they make.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Communication because I love talking!

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

If I could go to Nando’s with two people, it would be with my Auntie and Ed Sheeran.

Kent

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A drama teacher or train driver.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

I love seeing young people understand themselves better, seeing them step outside their comfort zones, how special they are, and the difference change makes on the home and school environment.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Communication – I love helping people feel at ease and have fun, adapting my communication to different people, and helping people feel truly heard.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Russell Brand & Brene Brown.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

At 13 like most young people I wasn’t too sure, but there were a few things I was interested in which included marketing/ fashion/ business.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

I love seeing young people thrive, overcoming their own fears and developing their self-belief.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

I feel self-aware is my strongest capability. I think that I have a clear understanding of my strengths, but also what I still need to work on!

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Most definitely Prince, and my father who passed away 13 years ago.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A rugby and cricket journalist.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Taking young people on Ready for Work activities, such as career insight visits and business mentoring.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why

Communication.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Julius Caesar and John Cleese.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A palaeontologist.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Seeing the lifelong impact that it has on the young people.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Resilience – always looking for an opportunity to learn and develop myself, and not letting my emotions cloud my judgement.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

They would have to be Robin Williams and Gordon Ramsay.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A crime scene investigator.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Being able to support my students once they have left school (16-18 years).

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Receptive – I like receiving feedback to make sure I can be better and improve, also one of my favourite skills is listening to others, hence why I do what I do!

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Barack Obama (he just sounds so cool) and my dad, as I never got to know him, he died when I was young.

DFN-MoveForward

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A musical conductor.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

The clear passion for inclusion and fluidity of self-control and expression as a progression coach, and always working in the interest of young people – enabling their voice is heard. 

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Self-awareness – being conscious of my strengths and weaknesses and finding routes to balance the scale of my confidence and reality of being indifferent. 

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Tupac Shakur to gain his wisdom and insight about the struggles and educating myself on the Black Panther movement, and Dr Kwame Nkrumah who took it upon himself to free Gold Coast (now called Ghana) from Empire rule. 

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

 A vet.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Taking young people out on insight days to experience the world of work.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Resilience – no matter what just keep going.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Beyoncé and Neil Armstrong.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A primary school teacher.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Working with a team of people connected by a strong value base and a commitment to changing the landscape of employment for young people.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why

Communication – My speciality is talking! I love working in a team and can’t go long without that sort of interaction.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Michelle Obama and Roisin Conaty. So hard to choose, can I invite more..?

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

An Educational Psychologist!

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

Being around the young people is endlessly inspiring and entertaining. I love the variety of each day. The young people constantly surprise me and show me new ways of looking at things all the time. It’s such a privilege to be with them at this important stage in their lives.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

Resilience, I think. My path in life has not always been easy, or straightforward (like many of the young people I support), but I’ve channelled adversity to help me develop and grow.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

The punk poet, John Cooper Clarke and Billy Childish who is an ‘outsider’ musician and artist. I love being around people who follow their own unique path in life and dance to the beat of their own drum.

What did you want to be when you were 13? 

A vet, a photographer, an astronaut, a psychologist and a teacher… I liked to keep my options open.

What is your favourite thing about working at ThinkForward?

The ethos. I absolutely love that everyone you meet within ThinkForward has a passion for doing what is right for every single young person they meet. Everyone is positive, proactive, skilled and truly wants the best for everyone they meet and work with.

What is your strongest Work Readiness Capability and why?

I think good communication – I like to communicate a lot whether by email, text, whatsapp, video call, phone call, voice note, e-card, messenger and of course my favourite way – face-to-face.

If you could share Nando’s with two people living or dead, who would they be?

Maya Angelou because I absolutely love her passion and resilience and how beautifully she explained the world within words AND Richard Branson. 1. SO we could become friends and I could get an invite to his island and 2. Because he is a pretty cool guy with an amazing brain and I might get to visit space…however I would trade Nandos for a pizza.