28 May Essex youngster scoops Apprentice Of The Year award
An aspiring young accountant from Romford was recognised with an Apprentice Of The Year award by social mobility charity LTSB.
Agnes Thiong’o, 23, from Chadwell Heath, was part of LTSB’s innovative programme to connect bright young candidates from under-represented backgrounds to meaningful professional careers.
Agnes was selected by LTSB for dedication and achievement at accountancy firm RSM. She started as a Technology and Management Consulting Analyst, and is now working as an Audit Assistant.
“This award means so much to me!” said Agnes. “But it also made me reflect on how I started, my journey, and where I am now. At the beginning, I just didn’t know what to expect from the programme – I didn’t know how great it was going to be!”
LTSB prepares and supports bright young people who face barriers to beginning professional careers. Intensive training develops them personally and professionally, from exclusive experiences with West Ham United Foundation to professional qualifications with Newham College. After helping find them roles in firms like NatWest, MAPP and BDO Drive, LTSB continues to support the apprentices for the first year of their career.
“Graduation for this intake was delayed by the COVID-19 Virus but we’re delighted to celebrate their achievement!” said LTSB CEO, Paul Evans. “It’s important to recognise the efforts of young people breaking into professional careers, and making the case for major firms to think more broadly about their recruitment strategies.
“Agnes is a great example of the sort of commitment and talent that can be found if employers work with third sector organisations like LTSB.”
For Agnes – who was congratulated at the ceremony by West Ham boss David Moyes in a recorded message – finding an employer that made her welcome was important.
“At a big firm like RSM, you think you’re probably going to get a bit lost, but the support is incredible. Every firm should be like this: regardless of background, they think about you in terms of what you can do, and how they can train you to be your best. But I would never be here without LTSB: they gave me wings to realise what I was capable of.”
LTSB’s work has always been necessary, but now, Paul says, it’s “critical”.
“We’re seeing the consequence of coronavirus disproportionately impacting the young. We face an unequal, delayed recovery, with the most vulnerable at risk of ‘economic long-covid’. Youth unemployment figures in particular indicate the nature of the slow crisis which will follow, unless we make critical interventions to safeguard the future workforce.”
These interventions, Paul says, need to partner expertise with opportunity.
“The business case for diversity of experience has been made, with Agnes just one of hundreds of our young people who have repaid an employer’s faith in them with hard work and ability. But as society responds to the pandemic, we need to make it easy for companies to invest in the communities hardest hit, and make sure young people who need additional support find it. Charities like LTSB can do both.”
LTSB is currently delivering a major programme with NatWest Group, finding candidates for a range of roles in Digital and Customer service. In London they are looking for candidates for degree-level Digital User Experience roles, and for Level 3 customer advisor roles in commercial banking and branch locations.
“The first thing to say to other young people thinking about joining LTSB is – it works,” says Agnes. “Everything you’re doing adds to the CV, adds to the skills. You don’t have to have faith, because you can see what you’re getting, and can see the results. Everyone should try it!”
If you’re a young person who wants to make their mark in the business world, but don’t know where to start, contact email@example.com or apply for the scheme at www.leadershipthroughsport.org.