There are many things that have come out of the #peoplelikemecan campaign.
But I’d like to talk about education this week.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard stories about how people have been held back in the past because of their education. The whole ‘not being good enough’ stigma. It happens. It did happen.
And everyone has their story. But they also have a story of how they have turned it around.
Because not everyone started out their working life with the same levels of education.
You did your best. Got a few ‘O’ Levels and CSEs. And that was it for many. Boom Boom. Job done. Now go and get one.
And that’s what happened. Very different times, of course, because you’d head off into the City for work and generally found it.
You’d get ripped off by a few agencies (no change there) and off you would go to a number of highly unsuitable interviews where you would be pulled to shreds and sent away.
Sometimes it was the way you looked, the way you spoke or that you just weren’t cut out for the job.
You carried on until you found something and you kept the Saturday job up in the meantime.
University was not a thing for everyone. In fact, I can probably name two people in our area that went. Again, it’s different for everyone.
It didn’t cost anything back then but it did mean that you would be another few years not earning any money. And there was also the small issue of getting in. If you went to a s**t school (as I did), you didn’t come away with very much.
Nice people and all that but not much to be had in the way of role models and learning.
You may have read in an old blog post of mine of how the English teacher once told my father at parents evening :
‘what’s the point in this lot trying, none of them are going to get jobs’.
Mr Humphreys was not very happy with this comment. Jan had to say ‘John’ several times and the Headmaster came over.
Jan reported back that daddy was embarrassing and I knew that life in Miss Levy’s class was about to take more of a turn.
You could say what you bloody well liked in those days and this woman did. She wouldn’t be alone on that though. I’m not singling her out for special attention.
But you get my drift.
It wasn’t the end of the world though.
Further Education came into my life and it stayed. I’ve gone on to be a huge fan of personal development and that is something for which I am forever grateful. I made the decision once I started working that I would do all of the things that I wanted to and I paid to learn.
And I’m not the only one.
Because despite the fact that doors get closed in faces, you can never take away the fact that we can choose to learn. To make the best of what is available. We are lucky. We do have choices. And its up to us to take the opportunities available.
What I’ve been hearing over the last few weeks through this campaign is that people are returning to University to study, training for a new career and that they are being successful despite being written off in their younger days. And that has to be a good thing – right?
The only barriers are the ones we put down for ourselves now. We get to choose.
So, if you've been been told in the past that you are 'a bit thick' or that 'you aren't cut out for the job' or you've been ignored because of your background or roots - listen up.
It's time to start banging out your own script.
Because you can.
Just think of all those people that were told they would never amount to anything.