Lead and Be Led is a leadership programme that enabled me to get opportunities and meet a wide range of people. In my first year studying History at QM, I was unsure about my future, had no idea what I wanted to pursue after graduation, and had zero networks. All I knew was that I was desperate for experience and had to start somewhere. It was the Lead and Be Led programme that enabled me to learn more about myself and gave me an idea of what I could possibly do after graduation.
As an introvert, I really took this opportunity to get out of my shell and do things I wouldn’t normally do; the training I got at the programme consisted of debating current issues and elements of leadership, working in a team with my fellow cohorts to create a social action project, and most importantly taking on a role/responsibility for the social action project.
It’s the networking ability that was a stepping stone for me. Our mentor worked extremely hard to fit our individual needs in terms of career development. I would take most opportunities she would send me, which has been utterly beneficial. I was forwarded to be a Youth Advisory Board Member at Partnership for Young London (PYL) and took part in curating surveys to find out young people’s biggest issues ahead of the Mayoral Election. Through my involvement with PYL, I also took on a role as a Peer Researcher on a 6-week research project. I was also able to intern for an MP through Parliamentors, a UN award-winning leadership programme and learnt more about local and national government. This is all thanks to our programmes officer who unlocked potential in me I thought I never had. As I embark on my 3rd year, I have a much clearer picture of my future and I’m eager to work within the public sector.
It was truly our Lead and Be Led programme officer who pushed me to take on these opportunities and grow my understanding on the world of non-profit organisations, and develop crucial skills regardless of what sector I embark on after University. With that said, I would encourage any young Somalis in London to sign up for the Lead and Be Led programme and develop their portfolio. What better way to gain experience through an organisation that seeks to make a difference in British Somalis in the UK.