Sixth-form drop-out Nasreen now wants to teach in schools after Tower Hamlets careers help

Apprenrtice.Nasreen Begum... drop-out turned game keeper [photo: Kois Miah]

Apprenrtice.Nasreen Begum... drop-out turned game keeper [photo: Kois Miah] - Credit: TH Council

More young people in the East End are now in education, training or working than at any time since records began 21 years ago.

Just 242 are outside the education system and unemployed, compared to 741 eight years ago.

Teenager Nasreen Begum was seven months without a job after dropping out of sixth-form.

But the 19-year-old from Stepney got a second chance through Tower Hamlets Council’s careers service and is now an apprentice with ambitions to work with young people.

She has been an apprentice since last summer. Her apprenticeship includes a youth care qualification and is provided by 15billion, the young people’s training provider, and Newham Education Business Partnership.

“I dropped out of sixth-form the first year because I wasn’t doing the courses I wanted,” Nasreen explains. “I went back the next year, but dropped out again after a month because I didn’t want to waste my time. There was no point me doing courses if I wasn’t going to get anything out of it—I wanted to do youth work.”

It wasn’t pleasant being unemployed while being outside the education system, she found.

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“Everyone kept calling me a bum,” she recalled. “I wanted to get on with my life and told people I was looking—I was trying to stop them pestering me.”

Nasreen started volunteering at a youth centre, which then put her in touch with the careers service which gave her a careers advisor.

“He helped me get into interviews and look for stuff,” Nasreen recalls. “I started a childcare apprenticeship a couple of months later.

“What I’m doing now is what I always wanted to do and am enjoying it. I feel like one of the workers.”

She knew what she could achieve, but needed help to get there.

“Without the careers service I would probably still be looking for something to do, if I’m being honest,” she admits.

“The careers advisors really want you to get somewhere—that really pushed me forward.

“They help you set a plan and do your CV with you.”

Nasreen hopes to teach in a school herself in five years’ time. She likes working with young people and still volunteers with her local youth centre.

She’s even thinking eventually of becoming a careers advisor herself and sharing her own experience. That would complete the circle.

She adds philosophically: “That age group doesn’t know what to do, but really wants to get somewhere.”

Nasreen enjoys working with students needing guidance, where she gives “something back” to her East End community. That would be her dream job.