Sunday, January 16, 2022

The door knocker-turned-BBC podcaster supports our appeal for Christmas jobs

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Investment analyst and BBC podcaster Reggie Nelson has backed our appeal to upskill unemployed youth and get them into work, calling it “particularly needed for young people” who have borne the brunt of the pandemic.

Before his rise to success, 26-year-old Reggie from East London dreamed of becoming a footballer. His contingency plan was to work as a mailman. Growing up in an economically disadvantaged area, he said the lack of visibility of various career options pigeonholed young people like himself and his colleagues with some limited aspirations.

He said: “Everybody either becomes a footballer, a musician or a criminal – and when you’re younger you try all three. I tried music – I was never good at music – and my mum never wanted me to become a criminal… and soccer was the only thing I had any talent for, so I figured let me pursue it.

But after losing his father at the age of 17, Reggie felt he had to provide for his family and put his football dreams aside. Curious to find out how the rich accumulate their wealth, Reggie embarked on an inspired door knocking expedition in Kensington and Chelsea and hit the wealthiest streets in the area. This led him to investment management expert Quintin Price, who was impressed by his departure and invited him to an insight day at his firm to provide him with later work experience and a mentor.

“I never aspired to work in finance until I knocked on that door,” Reggie said. “I didn’t know anything about investment banking or lawyers or marketing or advertising or that you could curate a lead yourself.”

With encouragement from Mr. Price, Reggie made his way to university and majored in Economics with Mandarin at Kingston University in London. Today he works at one of the city’s leading financial services companies and presents the your work your money Podcast for the BBC with business and money advice.

He said young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are at risk of being left behind because they don’t have the social capital to access mentors and sponsors in career fields who could help them leverage their skills. As a result, many young people are unaware of the opportunities available to them, have limited support in pursuing their career aspirations and are more likely to become unemployed.

He added that our Christmas campaign is “especially needed right now” – for students who have taken the hit of the pandemic, and which has kept companies away from on-campus events and workshops that would normally give them a head start.

“Campaigns like this help people understand that they’re not the only ones going through this because sometimes you’re like, ‘Why me? When you find other people navigating it too, that’s comforting. It also gives them the practical feeling that if they want to achieve something, they can sign up and jump into an area of ​​their choice, be it finance, medicine or whatever it may be.”

Asked for advice for those struggling to find employment, Reggie urged young people to use the difficult moments as motivation to keep going. “The toughest moments create the best stories,” he said. Reggie added that there needs to be more internships for young people like those offered by City Gateway and Springboard in our campaign. “Initiatives like these play a tremendous role in setting the building blocks for young people’s career advancement.”

What are we doing? We launched Skill Up Step Up, a £ 1 million initiative in partnership with Barclays LifeSkills to train unemployed and disadvantaged young Londoners to be “ready to work” and get into sustainable jobs or apprenticeships.

Why are we doing this? Youth unemployment in London has risen 55 per cent to 105,000 since the pandemic began, meaning 21 per cent of 16-24 year olds are unemployed, while there are 1.17 million vacancies nationwide. This mismatch, largely caused by a lack of employability, skills and experience, results in wasted lives and billions of pounds of lost productivity for our economy.

How will it work? Barclays’ £ 1million will provide grants over two years to up to five outstanding, handpicked charities providing employability and all-round support to disadvantaged unemployed young Londoners to get them into the job market and change their lives. The charity partners that we have announced so far are:

1. Stepping stone: You will support young people in jobs in the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, bars, leisure and tourism) through a three to six week program combining one-on-one mentoring, soft skills and employability development (confidence, work attitude , resume writing, interviewing and time management), hands-on industry training and hard skills including food safety and customer service, and access to internships.

2. City Gateway: They prepare young people with a 12-week employability program that includes digital skills, an internship, CV and interview skills, and a dedicated one-on-one coach, extending up to 20 weeks if they need English and/or math qualifications, enabling them to gain entry-level positions including apprenticeships in a variety of industries including finance, digital media, marketing, retail, real estate and IT.

Additional partner organizations will be announced in due course.

How can young and unemployed people continue their education? If you are between the ages of 16 and 24 and would like to further your education for a job in the hospitality industry, contact Springboard here.

If you would like to further qualify for a job in another sector, contact City Gateway here.

Visit for tools, tips and learning resources

What can employers do? We would like companies – whether large, medium-sized or small – to come forward with the promise of taking on one or more trainees in an employment or training relationship. You could work in your IT, customer service, human resources, marketing, or sales department, or any department with entry-level positions. You will receive a shortlist of suitable candidates for an interview. To get the ball rolling contact the London Community Foundation who are managing the process at:

How can readers help? The more money we collect, the more young people we can train. To donate, click here

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