Arrival Education Student Spotlight: Jamie Pearce
Over the last 12 years, we’ve been fortunate to support the development of thousands of brilliant and ambitious, socially and ethnically diverse young talent. This week, we caught up with Jamie Pearce, one our graduates who was selected for AE’s Four Year Social Mobility programme, Success for Life, in 2008.
Where did you grow-up/ go to school? What was it like?
I grew up on the Old Kent Road, London. My school, Walworth (later Walworth Academy), was one of the most underperforming schools in the borough. I was at school during the recession, which definitely highlighted inequality and poverty within the inner-city of London.
Growing up was fine for the most part. I had a lot of friends, I was top-set for classes and was involved in the sports teams, but my school was located between two notorious estates in South-London and so witnessing crime was very much part of growing up. Muggings and stabbings were pretty normal. One of my friends was stabbed and killed just before he was due to start on the same programme as me with Arrival Education.
How old were you when you started working with AE?
I was in year 10, aged 14, when I started with AE. I was just about to start my GCSE’s.
What has been the impact on you/ your life of working with AE?
Growing up in such a setting meant I lived in a bubble. My world stretched from Elephant & Castle to New Cross and back again.
I had people around me who had established a good career in labour-intensive roles or through loyal service but each of them seemed comfortable. No one really pushed through barriers and remained within the local area and never moved on.
Although I was only living 10 minutes from the City, and used to admire Canary Wharf from my bedroom window, I could never picture myself in the setting of a corporate environment. Working with AE allowed me to understand my potential, how to use the skills I had and develop on the ones I didn’t, all to navigate my way to achieving my goals successfully.
I now work for a global corporate. A setting that was once alien and uncomfortable, is now a platform I use to navigate my success with clarity and confidence.
Looking back, what was it about working with AE that helped you most?
What helped me the most was being able to understand my own worth and what I can bring to the table. Similar interventions at school made me feel lucky to be in a room with influential people. I would sit and listen in awe, and although I felt I had some great ideas to contribute, I wouldn’t share them. AE made me realise that I was in that room for a reason and enabled me to show my value, with confidence.
If you hadn’t worked with AE, what do you think the difference would be?
I think I would have done well, I was always quite sure of my ability, I just didn’t know what to do with it. The key difference would have been on how far I would have pushed myself. I had an idea of a career back then but that idea was based on local admiration and not understanding my own potential.
What are you doing now? What are your hopes for your future?
I am currently studying Economics with Econometrics degree and have just finished my second year. Alongside this I work for Skanska, recruiting emerging talent into the organisation.
With regards to the future, one thing I learned with AE is that things change all the time, but I aim to climb the career ladder as high as I possibly can, without limiting my options.
What would you say about AE, to someone who had never heard of us?
If you want to engage with AE, you need to be authentic and curious. Time moves so quickly and you need to be aware of where you are at and open to explore how to develop or grow in order to move on.
You also need to be realistic about what you’d like to achieve. There’s nothing wrong with having a grand goal but understanding what you need to achieve now to move closer to that goal is imperative. AE is great at helping you with this.
If you would like to hear more about our work or how we can help you or your business, send us a message.