Skill Up Step Up: Knocker turned BBC podcaster backs our call for Christmas jobs

Reggie Nelson, the investment analyst and BBC podcaster, supported our call to improve the skills of unemployed young people and put them to work, calling it “especially necessary for the young people” who have borne the brunt of the pandemic .

Before his rise to success, Reggie, 26, from east London, dreamed of becoming a footballer. His contingency plan was to work as a letter carrier. Growing up in an economically disadvantaged area, he said the lack of visibility of different career options reduced young people like him and his peers to a few limited aspirations.

He said: “Everyone becomes a footballer, musician or criminal – and when you’re younger you try all three. I tried music – I was never good at music – and my mom was never going. never let me be a criminal, so both of those options were exploited and football was the one thing I thought I had a talent for, so I thought, let me chase it.

But after losing his father at 17, Reggie felt he had to support his family and put his football dreams aside. Curious about how the wealthy amass their wealth, Reggie went on an inspired door-to-door expedition to Kensington and Chelsea, to the area’s wealthiest streets. This led him to the door of investment management expert Quintin Price, who was impressed with his drive and invited him to a day of reflection at his company, later providing him with work experience and a mentor.

“I never aspired to be in finance until I knocked on that door,” Reggie said. “I didn’t know anything about investment banking, lawyers, marketing or advertising or the fact that you could organize a path on your own.”

With Mr. Price’s encouragement, Reggie left for college, studying economics with Mandarin at Kingston University in London. He now works for one of the city’s leading financial services companies and presents the your work your money podcast for the BBC, providing business and financial advice.

He said young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are at risk of being left behind because they lack the social capital to access mentors and sponsors in professional fields who could help them find their way. exploit their skills. As a result, many young people are unaware of their options, have limited support to pursue their future aspirations, and fall more easily into unemployment.

Reggie Nelson “knew nothing” about finance until he knocked on the right door

(Matt Writtle)

He added that our Christmas campaign is “especially needed at this time” – for students who have suffered the blow of the pandemic and who have kept businesses away from campus events and workshops that would normally give them a step ahead.

“Campaigns like this help people understand that they’re not the only ones going through this because sometimes you feel, why me? When you realize that other people are browsing it too, you are reassured. It also gives them a practical sense that if they want to achieve something, they can enroll and enter whatever field they want, be it finance, medical science or whatever.

When asked for advice for those struggling to find jobs, Reggie urged young people to use tough times as motivation to keep going. “The toughest times make the best stories,” he said. Reggie added that there need to be more youth internships like the ones offered by City Gateway and Springboard in our campaign. “Initiatives like these play a huge role in laying the foundations for young people to rise professionally.”


Our campaign in a few words

what are we doing? We have launched Skill Up Step Up, a £ 1million initiative in partnership with Barclays LifeSkills to upgrade the skills of unemployed and disadvantaged young Londoners so they can be ‘ready to work’ and access jobs or jobs. sustainable learning.

Why are we doing this? Youth unemployment in London has climbed 55% to 105,000 since the start of the pandemic, meaning 21% of 16-24 year olds are out of work at a time of record vacancies of 1.17 million across the country. country. This mismatch, caused in large part by a lack of employability skills and experience, is causing wasted lives and billions of pounds of lost productivity to our economy.

How will it work? Barclays’ £ million will provide a two-year grant to up to five exceptional, hand-picked charities that provide disadvantaged young Londoners without jobs with employability skills and comprehensive care to bring them in on the job market and transform their lives. The charitable partners we have announced so far are:

1. Springboard: they will support young people in the hotel industry (hotels, restaurants, bars, leisure and tourism) via a three to six week program including individual mentoring, soft skills and development of employability (confidence, work attitude, CV creation, interview practice and time management), hands-on training in industry and specialist skills, including food safety and customer service, as well as access to internships .

2. City Gateway: They will prepare young people for work with a 12-week employability program, including digital skills, an internship, CV and interview skills and a dedicated one-on-one coach, which can last up to 20 weeks if they need English and / or math qualifications, enabling them to advance to entry-level positions, including apprenticeships in a wide range of industries including finance, digital media, marketing, retail, real estate and IT.

Further partner charities will be announced in due course.

How can young people and the unemployed upgrade their skills? If you are between 16 and 24 years old and want to upgrade to a hospitality job, contact Springboard here.

If you want to upgrade to a job in another sector, contact City Gateway here.

For tools, tips and learning resources, visit

How can employers intervene? We want companies – large, medium and small – to mobilize by committing to employ one or more interns as part of a job or an apprenticeship. They could work in your IT, customer service, human resources, marketing or sales departments, or any department with entry level positions. You will receive a shortlist of suitable candidates for interview. To start the process, contact the London Community Foundation, which manages the process at: [email protected]

How can readers help? The more money we collect, the more we can train young people. Make a donation, Click here

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