Apprentice, IT Department

Becoming an apprentice was the big break Afolake Adedoyin was looking for. After a rocky start in the UK, her career is finally on the right track.

Afolake Adedoyin was sad to say goodbye to her friends and family in Nigeria but she had decided to come to the UK for a better life for her family.

“Finding a job was the biggest challenge,” she says. “We were both working in banks back home but we put our professional lives on hold when we came to the UK.”

After endless interviews, Afolake finally found a job as a cashier at Poundland.

With two years’ solid work experience under her belt, Afolake began to think about getting her own career back on track. She was prompted by an email from L&Q about the apprenticeship scheme for residents.

“When I read it, I was excited that there was finally an opportunity for me somewhere,” says Afolake.

She made the call and was relieved to find out that there was no age limit.

“If you are older than 23, you feel left out,” she says. “I couldn’t find any other apprenticeships willing to accept older applicants.”

She applied online and following an assessment day, she found out she had been successful.

“I couldn’t believe I would be getting paid and gain a qualification as well,” she says.

In preparation, she enrolled herself on an IT course to brush up on her skills and started to make childcare arrangements.

“My youngest child is not used to seeing me with a job. I want my kids to know that women go to work too.”

Overall, Afolake feels it was a great decision to come to the UK and hopes her children will also benefit in the future.

“I want them to know that there are two kinds of life,” she says. “In Nigeria, people face such hardship and struggle just to put food on the table. I want them to make the most of the opportunity we have given them.”

Afolake is halfway into her eighteen month apprenticeship. She has built up her systems knowledge and is already working on the help desk, resolving problems.

“It’s definitely the best move I ever made,” says Afolake. “ I’m one step closer to my goal of achieving my qualifications and becoming an IT consultant.”