Mohammed Usman was the first LifeSkills Champion. He grew up in Bradford and is now studying at the University of Warwick, where he continues to be actively involved in helping other young people achieve their ambitions. Earlier this month, we caught up with him to find out a bit more about his experience and his thoughts on the exciting new LifeSkills Champion programme.
Hi Mohammed! Great to see you. For those that might not know about the brand new LifeSkills Champions programme, can you tell us a bit about it?
LifeSkills Champions is an exciting initiative that allows you to take ownership of your future, and help your fellow classmates and friends by introducing them to the skills they need to get ready for the world of work. And by becoming a Champion, you’ll be learning the skills you need to set yourself up for your career, too!
The job market for young people today is challenging. Hundreds of thousands of young people are unemployed and it’s more competitive than ever before. Combating this requires big changes: changing the perception of the world of work; reforming schools and universities; initiating apprenticeships and mentoring.
But, it also requires us and our skills.
We are a creative and passionate generation who need to use our fresh and positive minds to seize opportunities and encourage others to do the same. We need leaders.
And thanks to LifeSkills, there’s one role that‘s available to all young people, right away; becoming a LifeSkills Champion.
Sounds exciting! Tell us a bit more about yourself - how did you first get involved in the LifeSkills programme?
I first heard about LifeSkills at school and signed myself up online to learn on my own. I saw it as a chance to develop the skills that I needed for my future and access work experience opportunities. I’m now a LifeSkills Ambassador and proud to be the first LifeSkills Champion.
I used to be really low in confidence, even scared to put up my hand in class. Now I’ve done things like present to 12,000 people at Wembley Arena.
However, what really made me want to share and highlight the importance of the LifeSkills programme to other students in my school was because my schoolmates’ aspirations and motivations were also pretty low. I realised I could use what I was learning through LifeSkills to help them, so I talked to my teacher, and we set up some sessions for me to teach. That was the beginning of my role as the first Champion. It’s been such an amazing journey and I love hearing my friends say how much LifeSkills has helped them gain new skills, too.
So, go and speak to your teachers / educators and ask them to sign you up as a LifeSkills Champion (more information for them here. It’s the most rewarding experience seeing the impact you can have on those around you, but also don’t forget about the skills you can gain from being a LifeSkills Champion. Leadership, communication and presentation skills to name a few – all things employers are crying out for!
What final words of wisdom do you have for anyone considering signing up?
Being a LifeSkills Champion has opened so many doors for me. The skills I’ve developed have enabled me to access work experience opportunities, volunteer for charities and meet some really interesting people. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m really excited to see loads more Champions achieve great things.
I wish you all the best on your LifeSkills Champion journey & I would love to hear your LifeSkills journey too!!