23 year old Mahera Hussain found herself unable to find suitable work and so enrolled on a 12 week Princes Trust programme at Barking & Dagenham College.

She’s now secured her first full time job since leaving school at a children’s charity.

Mahera explains that: “After university, I felt a little lost and didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so applied for International Citizen Service (ICS) just because I love to travel and experience new cultures, but at the same time I wanted to make a difference and give back to the world.

“I worked as a sales assistant for a luxury shoe brand before doing ICS, I liked working there, but at the same time I knew I didn’t want to be working in retail for the rest of my life.

“I ended up doing my ICS placement in a small rural market town in Ghana. It was a big adjustment as I went from working in luxury retail to seeing barely clothed children running around in the streets of the poorest parts of Ghana.”

Since getting back, Mahera focussed on trying to secure a career working within a charity. She volunteered at two charities, doing social media and blogs for one and helping out in ESOL classes for women at the other.

At the same time as her voluntary work, she enrolled on the Princes Trust programme at Barking & Dagenham College. The course included a variety of activities and projects aimed at helping people secure employment, including a two week work placement which Mahera completed at a PR and marketing agency. Shortly before finishing the course Mahera said:


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“I’ve found my Princes Trust team leaders to be great mentors. I’ve also had opportunities to build on skills that will help me find employment in the near future.

“After completing the course, I’m hoping to find a paid internship at a charity and then hopefully a full time job in the charity sector.”

Not long after completing her course, Mahera was delighted to be offered full time work at a children’s literacy charity.

Barking & Dagenham College offers higher level technical and professional training, from entry to level 7 that prepares people for work or for university. Operating from five specialist sites, with industry-standard facilities and real-work training environments, the College welcomes all age groups. The College has an established Higher Education programme (HNC/D, degree, postgraduate) in addition to a wider range of professional body qualifications.

Barking & Dagenham College is one of the leading providers of intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeship training in London, training around 1000 apprentices and working with around 300 employer clients each year.  Specialisms include Construction, Project Management, Human Resources Management, Business and Pharmacy.

The College has the Matrix Award for Advice and Guidance, STEM Assured kite mark, Investors in People Gold Status and its HE offer achieved QAA standards in 2015.[6] The College has won a number of prestigious national awards including: Beacon status by the AoC in 2016, Coding College of the Year 2016, as well as the Tes Award for Best Teaching and Learning Initiative in 2018 for its “holistically and usefully” integrated STEM across wider curriculum areas. In April 2018 the College was named as Training Provider of the Year by Creative & Cultural Skills.

Its teaching staff has received a number of nominations and awards: VQ Teacher of the Year 2016, Pearson FE Lecturer of the Year Silver Teaching Award 2016, Regional Santander Employability Champion Winner for London and the South East 2017,[13] two teachers awarded in Maths Teacher of the Year Awards 2017, ENTHUSE award for excellence in STEM teaching 2017, a top 50 shortlist for Global Teacher of the Year 2017 and winner of the Festival of Learning National Tutor Award 2017.

With 12,500 students, an annual turnover of £36 million (Source: Audited Accounts 2015/2016), and outstanding financial health, the College has been praised by Ofsted for its outstanding support for students, its outstanding leadership and management, and its excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship.  In 2015 the College became a Digital & Creative Industries Career College.

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