Growing Our Own Talent – Evie’s journey from NCS to LEBC’s STEM Ambassador Coordinator

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and the goals for your future career path before you connected with LEBC?

My first interaction with LEBC was in 2016, when I was invited to sign up for LEBC’s National Citizen Service youth development programme via LEBC’s partnership with my secondary school in Beaumont Leys. The LEBC team came into my school to explain what NCS was to my year group in year 11. I didn’t have many career goals yet, being so young. I knew I loved IT, French, and business studies, and I wanted to do something technical to use my abilities in that aspect. I have an ASD diagnosis, and in my spare time, I was a committed Christian Methodist, which highly instilled an attitude of social responsibility within my community—helping out with the church’s fundraisers and performances and serving the local area with food.


What specific services or programs did LEBC offer that you found most helpful in achieving your goals?

When I took part in the NCS Youth Development programme, the summer after completing my GCSEs, I was mostly looking forward to spending time with my school friends and camping as I didn’t get many opportunities as a young person in an inner-city school to do many trips or excursions outside of my local area. Week 1 was a camping trip, but I wasn’t in the same group as my school friends, so I got the opportunity to mix with people I’d never met before and made a fellow religious friend I still speak to today! Week 2, we went to visit a university, to learn independent living skills and gain experience living away from home in a real-life university accommodation, and to sit in on lectures and seminars. In weeks 3 and 4, we did our social action projects, which is where I really shone. I went there solely to enjoy time with my friends but found a love for community service, fundraising, helping others and working with charity. For my social action project, I volunteered to develop a primary school’s outdoor space and reception. This included building a wildlife garden, making the entrance to the school more welcoming, and designing and creating a mural.

Before my initial opportunity with LEBC, I had never received career guidance, been on a university campus or volunteered with a charity in a formal context. LEBC gave me that support to learn more about the world of work and think about life beyond my school grounds. Being from a lower socio-economic background with parents who didn’t go to university, they were very proud to say that I had this opportunity to see what university life was like. One opportunity during that week that opened my eyes was when we had a list of charities/businesses/community centres that wanted help fundraising/refurbishing. The catch was that there were many teams of other Young People, and the teams had to pitch directly to the adults/charities as to why we wanted to help and what qualities we had that would make us the best fit to support them. I had never done a pitch to an adult outside of a school environment, so I had never considered the professional and formal aspects of the world of work or put myself out there to talk to people I didn’t know outside of my immediate community.

I also used their work experience service in Year 10, where I had a placement at my local supermarket, learning about working in a customer service role and the health and safety regulations within the supermarket industry.


How did LEBC’s guidance and support impact your understanding of the working world? / Did LEBC connect you with any specific resources or opportunities (e.g., job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships) that were instrumental in your success?

My experience with LEBC has dramatically impacted my current career path. Since my initial interaction with the NCS programme in 2016, I have dedicated myself to volunteering and charity work. Throughout my university days, I worked for the British Heart Foundation, which gave me the first opportunity to develop my volunteer coordination skills. I volunteered at one of the church night shelters for Derby City Mission. This charity provides safe accommodation and a substantial meal for up to 35 guests each night during the coldest months of the year (December-March). In my final year of university, I worked for Age UK Derby as a retail assistant. I volunteered a lot of my time to help the broader team during the COVID-19 lockdown to help sort out donations, move electronics to and from the warehouse, and clear out houses of older people who have passed away or been rehomed by the charity. My initial interaction with the LEBC NCS program helped me realise this career trajectory even existed in the first place by showcasing the many charities out there that need and want help. There are so many ways to help others, so many people that could use help, and my continued conviction to social responsibility was due to the services LEBC has provided me. I love that I can even have a job that contributes to “paying it forward” and continuing to support others as an adult. So, when I finished university in 2021 and saw that LEBC was looking for seasonal staff to help deliver the NCS programme, I jumped at the opportunity and worked as an Assistant Team Leader. I loved working with young people to help them develop skills outside of their usual classroom environment so much that, as a result, I applied to do a PGCE Primary course and continued to deliver work skills booster classes with LEBC during school half term breaks, eventually becoming an NCS Team Leader. I expressed I was looking for full-time employment, and one of my now coworkers shared that another area of the LEBC team was looking for a STEM Administrator. My job was initially to oversee the STEM Ambassador East Midlands database and manage email and social media marketing campaigns for the STEM team. Today, I am a STEM Ambassador Coordinator for STEM Ambassador East Midlands. I work with schools and businesses in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire to help them access high-quality activities to enrich and enhance the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) curriculum with Increased responsibilities surrounding: ESERO’s Space Inspirations project, running the Young Coders International Competition, Nuffield Research and experience placements.

I think my job is a great fit for me as I am a tech-savvy person who loves to support others. Recently, I have taken on supervising and mentoring an extended work-experience student, and I plan to continue developing this mentoring role on top of my duties.


Did LEBC help you develop any specific skills (e.g., interview skills, resume writing) that have been essential in your career journey?

Throughout the years, LEBC has helped me develop my social skills and confidence in working with others, from my first opportunity as a young person to the present. I am the kind of person who is very technically competent with a strong sense of justice, but my disability can sometimes feel like a barrier to understanding and connecting with others. One unique aspect of LEBC is that they make such an effort to connect with communities and their schools and businesses all over the East Midlands, so throughout the years, I have had many occasions to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people from varied walks of life whether that be during my social action project as a young person, or now as an employee delivering mock interviews and skills for life workshops, connecting with businesses and coordinating opportunities for the next generation of young people.


What advice would you give to other young people who are unsure about their career options?

It’s more than okay to have no idea where you want to be or what you will do in the future. There is significant pressure on young people to know precisely where their lives will go; it needs to be more realistic and fairer to them. My advice is to seize every opportunity that comes your way, ask for help and not be afraid to look silly at times – your youth is the perfect time to try things and learn what does or doesn’t work. Practice what you love doing, and no matter what, you are going to be more than okay. Make the most of LEBC’s services, they have shaped my early career!