Like a lot of young people, Salihah’s grades didn’t reflect her ability. “I had wanted to be an ophthalmologist, but when personal reasons meant that I didn’t do as well in my exams as I was predicted, I needed to reassess.”

Social mobility charity LTSB helps a lot of young people in Salihah’s position. Not everyone gets a second chance, and too many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are defined by factors beyond their control. Funding from ICAP Charity Day meant that we could ensure instead they found meaningful work with major firms, something Salihah really appreciates.

“I grew up in a family that was good with numbers – my dad does the books for his own business, and also for our mosque. So accountancy appealed, but I didn’t know how to get a job! I applied for lots but now I think the problem was that I didn’t have the right words.”

LTSB’s work falls into two sections: preparation and support. In the preparation phase, young people are personally and professionally developed through a bootcamp which addresses exactly this issue – giving them the right words.

“I didn’t know how to describe what I could do in applications or my CV. And my work experience in retail and tutoring wasn’t in accountancy, so I didn’t understand how to translate it. LTSB gave me the right words, but also experience and qualifications too, like an AAT Level 2 with Newham College.”

Which meant that when she had the opportunity to interview with top-50 accountancy firm CBW, she was ready. And it was a good fit from the start.

“They were such a welcoming team! They taught me a lot and gave me work that allowed me to put my studies into practice. LTSB also provided me with a corporate mentor from TP ICAP who was really useful in those early months as I integrated and understood the world of work.”

LTSB’s long-term commitment to apprentices is one of the ways we distinguish our support from other organisations. Thanks to funding and volunteering from major supporters like ICAP Charity Day, we can be there for the first year of a career – because getting a job is hard enough but keeping it can be hard too. The corporate environment can be a very different culture and making the transition to independent adulthood in the workplace can be a lot to manage. For Salihah, this continued support in the role is invaluable.

“I’m very grateful,” she says, having recently completed her AAT Level 3 qualification and starting her Level 4. “Others that don’t have this support struggle – it’s not easy out here to get a job, or to know what you’re doing wrong and how to improve. It’s great to have LTSB to turn to.”