By: Issmat Ahmad
With the looming pressure of people, I latched on to the first thing I could find after Graduation, and as many of us understand it’s not always the best decision. Despite my lost-ness, I continued to volunteer in the hope it would enhance my skills and I would gain the practical “experience” needed to get selected for a different job. Imperative to my journey, was seeking out the correct people and services who helped me gain clarity and directed me towards a less traditional path.
Let’s start with naming a few Employability Services local to Glasgow.
Making the best use of Employability services is vital to ensure you have access to the correct information and know where to find it. Don’t give up if you don’t get it right the first time. We all know of careers advisors in University and College who operated with an ‘I will give you what you ask’, rather than a what-you-need policy. Nor did they have the answers to our questions, and many times we would leave with more questions than we came in with. (Or at least that proved to be my experience! Hi-Five if you can relate!)
Skills Development Scotland in particular was a vital part of my journey, and the credit goes to the Careers advisors who asked the questions I didn’t have the answers for, but also helped me to explore them. SDS provides a Careers Service, assists in accessing Apprenticeships and Graduate opportunities, Training, and Employability Funds.
Speaking to both young men and women, I have established that there is great hesitancy in the South-Asian community, in asking for help and making use of Employability services. People very rarely talk about feeling lost after University or being unhappy with their current job. These feelings are completely valid and no one should be made to feel otherwise. Society will impose feelings of guilt, embarrassment, and unworthiness, but you must take responsibility to change your circumstances for a better life.
Consistency is what you need – I didn’t receive all the answers in my first few visits either. Find an advisor you connect with and one that you feel is steering you in the direction that is right for you. Having the knowledge on how to progress, or change careers is available and having access to these free services is a privilege we should utilise. With more and more services for BME people in particular, there are many opportunities to be taken, provided you know where to look.
So, let me direct your attention to the other services I have mentioned. The Prince’s Trust is a social hub for young people. 16-30 year olds can acquire short grants to progress, or receive training and develop in their field of work, along with access to mentors and online support and assistance. As well as many of their ‘Get into’ and ‘Get Started’ courses for those that are unemployed. Your interest can be in starting a business, finding a job in retail, Nursing, Get Started in Apps course, Technology and many other fields. The support and encouragement you will receive is second-to-none along with various volunteering opportunities.
Amina the Muslim Women’s Resource Centre has a dedicated Employability service and Job Club, where women can find assistance in creating CVs, acquiring employment, assistance in applications and more, in an inclusive and culturally-sensitive environment. YCSA also has an employability service that young people can engage with and benefit from.
A request to all those struggling… Have these conversations, reach out for help, and continue progressing, leading, and sharing your experiences! We owe it to each other to support, pave the way, and guide those experiencing similar struggles to ours.