The sun shone, the pizzas were a hit and more importantly the young care leavers who came along to our first face-to-face Aspire Higher networking event got a lot out of it.

Aspire Higher is a series of network meetings to give Barnet’s 16-25 year old care experienced young people the chance to meet industry professionals and business leaders to find out about how they got into their careers and routes into different jobs. That person then becomes a contact for help or support in the future. 

Held in the garden of the Leaving Care team’s office in North Finchley, the event hosted guests from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, artsdepot, Bumblebee lettings, UKIE, the trade body for the games industry and BOOST, the organisation that provides employment and financial support in Barnet.

Support on the day was also provided by members of Onwards and Upwards, Barnet Council’s leaving care team.

“It was a very good session, very relaxed,” said Personal Adviser Mohima Bibi. “My young people enjoyed it and made some new contacts.  For some of them who have been badly hit by the pandemic it was meaningful for them to get out and simply be with other people. This was a big step.”

R, 25, learned about the range of different jobs in the games industry and is keen to run his passion into a career. “I learned there were opportunities I wouldn’t be able to get searching alone and that with good skills I can do what I set out to achieve. Aim high.”

S, 19, said: “It was useful and great. I’ve found the way forward for becoming a football coach.”

F, 21, said: “I enjoyed meeting people and learned how to look for work.”

Aspire Higher meets up every two months, to give young care experienced people aged 16-25 the opportunity to meet with professionals from different industries to learn about more fulfilling and higher-paid careers. Each network meeting is followed up with advice on how to write a CV, use LinkedIn and goal setting, provided by recruitment specialists Matrix, as well as support looking for entry level jobs, internships and apprenticeships from Boost Barnet.

Thanks so much for allowing me to speak yesterday! I really enjoyed it. The session was very informative and the diverse range of speakers brought a holistic look at careers,” Yeshua Carter, Executive Assistant, Ernst&Young

I found it motivational, inspirational and powerful. It helped show me how to move forward and break the boundaries between me and my fears,” Hejran Azami, a young attendees

Karen Emanuel_wk1

I was truly honoured to be part of such an inspirational evening. I loved hearing everyone’s journeys and hope that between us we can help some young people follow their dreams (even if they haven’t dreamt them yet!),”

Karen Emanuel, CEO of Key Production, one of the speakers at the first event

The session taught me to be open to alternative routes to your desired career. Skills are transferable. Commit to what makes you happy, it might take a while, but it’ll be worth it,”

Jennifer Mohammadi, a young attendee