Sam grew up in Hackney, and started his DofE at school. He thought it would look good on his CV, and admits that he had no idea of the opportunities it would offer him, or the ways it would change him.
His first challenge was the expedition section: looking after himself for three days and two nights, with no home comforts and without his mum’s cooking was a shock to his system. However, the real difference came with his Gold Award. He had been selected as a member of DofE London’s Gold Award Forum. This group of young people from a wide range of backgrounds and across the whole of London raised funds for their own Residential Project in The Gambia.
“Seeing how the Gambian lifestyle is totally different makes you realise you take things at home for granted. Going to a school in Gambia and how they make the most of what they have and how smart and clever they are. I had so much more that I didn’t take advantage of. Knowing that just a little of what we have could so easily enrich their lives. I would love to go back.”
Throughout both levels of his DofE he has been a volunteer football coach in Hackney, helping to provide positive activities to keep younger boys out of trouble. He says: “The feeling of Volunteering is indescribable and cannot be bought – everyone should do it.”
“The DofE changed my life. Being a young boy in Hackney, I had drive but it wasn’t complete. Now it’s clearer. I am waiting for the experience to Gambia to be topped, and for me to do something and make a difference.”
“I think the most important skill I got from the DofE is interpersonal and communication skills. You meet people from all walks of life, elite and down to earth. You learn skills doing the DofE that are not taught in school, and vital skills for work. At job interviews you meet people who have done it or wanted to do it – it comes up in job interviews – it stands out and you can use DofE for examples in interviews.”
Sam recently graduated from Surrey University with a degree in Business and Retail Management. He has spent a year in the Real Estate industry working in the marketing department for a global real estate company. He was voted in football captain for the university for his final year.
He also volunteers some of his spare time to coaching football to some youth in Surrey has a favour to his old colleague.
Sam was on the London Gold Award Forum (GAF) and completed the DofE London Young Leader Programme.
In the future Sam would like to build a career in either the Marketing or Banking sector or Charity work with plans to start his own business later in life, and says ‘If you want to work in Business, make sure you come out of University with a Business plan’.
“I like selling ideas, merchandise and plans – marketing is used in everyday life. I’d like to think I’m a good sales man, and it’s an opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds & cultures (banking)”.