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“Tower Hamlets EBP allowed me to open my eyes to the world”

POSTED April 4, 2019

At the end of March we said goodbye to our superstar intern Nahyan Islam, who spent the last few months supporting the team at Tower Hamlets EBP, and who has just been accepted to do a PGCE at UCL! Before he left to start this new, exciting chapter, we caught up with him to ask him about his life, his time with us and his ambitions for his bright future.

Nahyan is the oldest child of four siblings; his Dad is from London and has worked in restaurants and as a taxi driver, and his Mum moved to England from Bangladesh. Neither parent went to university, but were always very encouraging of Nahyan’s ambitions at school. “I was never particularly academic at school” said Nahyan, who went to Bow School in Tower Hamlets, “but I always felt I had an inner-strength hiding within me. My Mum and my Form Tutor at Bow really encouraged me to do Young Enterprise at school, which allowed me to get involved in extra-curricular activities and really set me on my way to being proactive about finding opportunities for myself.”

Nahyan first became aware of the work of THEBP when we visited his school when he was in year 10, when volunteers from Bank of America conducted practice interviews and offered CV advice. He credits THEBP with ‘bridging the gap’ between school life and the world of work. “With THEBP, I was able to learn more about the structures of society and what success looks like, away from the classroom. I have learnt how to grasp opportunities, develop my professional network and become proactive! I used to struggle to absorb what teachers were saying, but through the activities of THEBP, I learnt new ways of working, and suddenly learning and taking in information got easier.”

Nahyan’s proactivity has taken him a long way from his home in Tower Hamlets, and through studying in Denmark, teaching in Bangladesh and Madrid and surviving in a camp in the remote wilds of Canada, he has been able to see more of the world, and learn some amazing life lessons along the way. “Denmark really shaped me” he says “I got loads of different insights, from simply cooking alone, to learning about financial responsibility and meeting new friends from all over the world”. Unsurprisingly, his wanderlust shows no sign of letting up: “the world is my oyster now. I want to travel more, and maybe teach abroad again. Why not?”

You wouldn’t think that the interview skills that Nahyan and countless others receive from THEBP’s ‘Head to Head’ event would have got him to a campsite in Canada, but Nahyan absolutely believes that it was what got him there in the first place. “There were only 12 of us, we had to trek, build camps, set up campfires and work as a team. At first, I wasn’t sure why someone like me had been picked, but I slowly realised that I did deserve it, and that my interview skills got me there in the first place!”

As part of his studies at Goldsmith’s, we were delighted to accept Nahyan on a three-month internship at our office on the edge of the City of London and Tower Hamlets. Enthusiastic as ever, Nahyan supported us in the delivery of events in schools, research and business and volunteer engagement. The experience was an eye-opening one for him, because it gave him an insight into the challenges and opportunities that exist for students in the borough. “It was interesting to apply an academic lens to the situation in the borough, and learn how people who are disadvantaged become excluded from the core competencies that they need in the world of work. THEBP helps untangle this problem, and I was pleased to be able to communicate and share my experiences with students and help them realise what skills they have and expose them to things that they may have never seen before in their upbringings”. He was proud to play an important role in helping change lives in his home borough: “I really want Tower Hamlets residents to achieve in the long term, and I am proud that my work as part of THEBP helped to do that.”

In September 2019, after completing his BA in Politics, Nahyan will take up a place at University College London’s prestigious Institute for Education, where he will study for a PGCE and take his first steps to becoming a teacher. He feels boosted by the confidence that he gained from his time helping us, but we believe that it is Nahyan’s ambition, proactivity, insight and openness to the world that will help him thrive in this next exciting chapter, and what will make him a fantastic teacher, wherever life takes him.



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